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Sir Jack Brabham OBE

1926 – 2014

Sir Jack Brabham OBE (b. 1926), racing car driver, was born in Hurstville, NSW, and studied mechanical engineering before working as a mechanic for the RAAF during WW2. After the war he built midget racing cars for the visiting American driver Johnny Schonberg. When Schonberg retired from the sport Brabham took to driving the cars himself, going on to win Australia's midget-car national title in 1951. He then switched to road racing, moving to England in 1953 in the hope of becoming a Formula One driver. Racing in a Cooper Climax, Brabham won Formula One's World Drivers' Championship in 1959 under dramatic circumstances. In the last lap of the deciding race he was leading the field when his car ran out of fuel. Undaunted, he climbed out and pushed the vehicle over the finish line, thereby securing the finish necessary to take the Championship. He won a second Championship in 1960 and a third in 1966, when he became the first driver in Formula One history to win the title in a car of his own design, the Repco Brabham. Described as an 'untidy, but very effective' driver, Brabham won a career total of 14 Grand Prix events before his retirement in 1970. He was Australian of the Year in 1966, and in 1979 became the first driver in history to be knighted for his services to motor sport. His three sons, Geoff, Gary and David, are all successful professional racing drivers.

Updated 2018