Jack Brabham represented an era of racing that may never be seen again and as it turns out, a kind of driver that may never be seen again either. Brabham passed away at the age of 88 at his home in Australia’s Gold Coast.

Brabham won the Formula One title in 1959, 1960 and 1966 and was a former Australian Air Force mechanic who started racing back in 1948. Brabham moved to the UK and promptly gave Cooper them two world championships on the trot in 1959 and 1960.

Jack decided to build his own team and won the world title in his self-named car which was later bought by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. His son David Brabham said:

“It’s a very sad day for all of us,” David said.

“My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning. He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.”

Jack will be missed by the entirety of the racing world as an innovator, world champion and pillar of the formative days of F1. Jack certianly represented a lot to me as a racing fan for a host of reasons. He was a privateer in an age that mattered. He was measured by the best of an era and was found to be Australia’s next true racer standing firm on soil that Bruce McLaren shared.

‘Black’ Jack Brabham was an inspiration to so many young men in Australia and beyond. Let us know what Jack meant to you, what your recollections of this man’s achievements and impact on motor sport was.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • RIP Sir Jack “Black Jack” Brabham.
    A true gentleman, a true champion, a true pioneer, and a National treasure. My condolences are offered to Lady Brabham, and the Brabham family.

    Your legacy and feats will never be forgotten Jack.

  • the drivers seat

    A very unique and gifted man, gods speed Black Jack

  • jiji the cat


    a dignified man, and legend. IMO the greatest down under has ever produced.

  • pear-shaped pete

    No doubt about it, Jack was legend and unique. The more you think about his achievements the more remarkable they seem. For sure they were “simpler times” but it would be wise not to underestimate.

    The well known ones speak for themselves, three times wdc and could even have been 5 times if things were different in 1967 and 1970. Still three is a formidable score, and surely no-one will ever match his ’66 feat of drivers championship in a car bearing his own name ( Sure there were other contributions on the Repco Brabham, but his was the major one for sure!).. Looking for speed gains through parts development cost him in ’67 comapred to Denny Hulme’s more reliable – less risky Brabham team car. And Jack was competitive in his final year of f1 – 1970 – at the fine age of 44. And the cars he and Ron Tauranac designed were in most cases, beautiful to look at!

    I think one of the real feathers in his cap was the mentor/help role for many people, including Bruce McLaren. That McLaren was able to get a foot into grand prix racing was down to Jack in large proportion.
    McLaren was the youngest winner of a gp for a time. And surely the inception of Brabham’s team inspired and influenced Bruce to found McLaren Cars ( and race team) – before he was 30 years old mind you. It’s hard to imagine what the motor racing landscape would look like without these two successful privateer teams.

    I suppose Jack Brabham proved that your beginnings didn’t stop you from getting to or succeeding, if you applied the gifts and stuff you did have, then you would do well. Jack “opened up” Europe and the GP world for Aussies, Kiwis and I think even Americans to a degree. He brought a far side of the world to the world championship.

    Rest in Peace, Sir Jack.

    pear-shaped pete

  • I’m far too young to have been privileged seeing Mr. Brabham race. However, my father shared examples of “Black” Jack’s brilliance which serves me to this day.

    As a young boy in the 80’s, I was fascinated by the loud, fast F1 cars, and Dad fostered it by explaining what he knew of the sport and technology to me, how we could take lessons it. He stressed looking at any challenge w/ a practical eye, no matter the field, that oftentimes the simplest solutions were best, and cited several examples from F1’s past.

    One such example was the 3 Liter formula, introduced in 1966. Dad mentioned whilst Ferrari and others followed a trend chasing power above all else, Brabham looked at the car as a system, that weight had as much to do with the car’s speed as outright horsepower, and designing a car around a smaller engine like the Repco V8 Brabham had constructed led to many long-term performance benefits.

    My father also stressed that Brabham (and Repco) had limited resources, and this made him look to production car parts, leading ultimately the Oldsmobile block used. When I poo-poo’d that idea as lazy and boring, Dad conveyed the genius of this, that by determining certain production parts were sufficient to a task, then sourcing said parts, that Mr. Brabham had, in a stroke, solved multiple problems of cost and reliability testing.

    Finally, the point was made how Brabham, despite his engineering credentials, knew enough to know his limitations, and therefore contract Phil Ivring of Vincent Motorcycles to develop the base Olds block and ultimately create the Brabham-Repco V8.

    In summary, Dad showed how Jack Brabham knew enough about his field (motor racing) and tools (cars) to assess a situation or problem and either enact solutions or put those in place that could.

    I try remembering this lesson in my (decidedly non-technical) profession, learning as much as I can about a client/subject, and assigning task-orientated specialist to complete portions of the ultimate goal. For that, I’m ever-grateful.

    May Jack Brabham’s loved ones celebrate an influential and most-certainly well-lived life.