Posted by: Gregoryno6 | May 19, 2014

Jack Brabham, 1926-2014.

Brabham was the first driver to prove Australians could cut it on the world motorsport scene… In 1966, Brabham became the first and only man to win the world championship in a car bearing his own name. It is a feat unlikely to ever be replicated.

Jack Brabham slipped from the public’s awareness many years ago, but he has a value to Australia that transcends his career as a champion racing driver. A lot of talent went abroad from The Great South Land during the 1950s and 1960; talent in the fields of art and literature, and science. Brabham took on the world of car racing and opened the doors of new possibilities to younger Australians. Not all of them in the racing industry either, I dare say.

With our small population, and travel being a much longer affair pre-747 days, Australians were rather an exotic species when abroad back then. And the country did become fairly conservative during the postwar era. We had the raw materials the rest of the world needed and there was little incentive to be adventurous. A lot of the intelligentsia that emigrated at the time damned Australia as a place where nothing was ever dared; Brabham raced overseas and won without the need to badmouth his home. Off the track he was an innovator, designing cars that added to his collection of prizes.

 

Victory champagne after the 1966 Grand Prix in Japan.

Victory champagne after the 1966 Grand Prix in Japan.

 

There’s a photo gallery here, and a fuller biography here.

And Brabhams are still out there on the track. Jack’s sons and grandsons have taken his place behind the wheel.

Rest in peace, Sir Jack.

 

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