Sir Jack Brabham's son in tribute to dad after death
IN THE pantheon of Australian sporting greats, his is a name that deserves its place alongside Don Bradman and Rod Laver.
Sir Jack Brabham, AO, OBE, was a triple Formula One world champion and race car builder, and at 88 years old was the oldest surviving F1 race winner and world champion.
But just a day after visiting the Sunshine Coast, news has broken that the legend is gone.
Sir Jack passed away peacefully at his Gold Coast, Australia, home on Monday morning, an official website said.
"Thanks for all the kind messages about my father's peaceful passing, it is appreciated by the whole family,'' his youngest son David tweeted.
"It's a very sad day for all of us. 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."
Sir Jack is survived by his wife, Lady Margaret, sons Geoff, Gary and David and their families.
Sir Jack's sons followed him into the sport with great success, Geoff and David making their greatest mark in sportcars and both winning the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Geoff's son Matthew winning his first Indy Lights race in America just one week ago, while David's son Sam is racing in Formula Ford in Great Britain.
Brabham had been in ill-health for some time.
Brabham was revered by motorsport enthusiasts, and a fortunate few were able to meet the great man yesterday at Aeromil Pacific's head office at Sunshine Coast Airport.
Little did they know it would be such an historic moment.
The legendary driver was in town to be reunited with the 1967 Brabham BT23 race car he personally designed, built and campaigned in that year's Formula 2 races throughout Europe.
The sleek single-seater race car, dressed in Brabham's familiar green and gold racing colours, has been purchased by Sir Jack's friend, Aeromil Pacific managing director Steve Padgett.
"I've known Jack since the 1970s when we were both at Bankstown Airport in Sydney," Mr Padgett said.
"It was great news; I was thrilled," Sir Jack said of learning his old friend had been responsible for bringing the race car to Australia.
The significance of the car was not lost on its new owner, with Mr Padgett saying he was very proud to bring a Brabham F2 car raced by Sir Jack to Australia to be showcased at motoring events.
While hearing and speaking are not easy for him yesterday, Sir Jack delighted guests by posing for photographs, autographing memorabilia and shaking hands.
News of his passing has seen tributes flood in from motoring enthusiasts.
"Deeply upsetting to hear the news that we lost our nation's greatest racing legend ,'' the Bowden family wrote.
"The racing community will mourn his passing, but his deeds will never be forgotten.
"Our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends. Vale Sir Jack Brabham.''
SIR JACK BRABHAM - ONE OF OUR GREATS
The Brabham name is synonymous with Grand Prix motor racing and to this day, Sir Jack Brabham, the first driver in history to be knighted for his services to motorsport, remains one of racing's most popular personalities.
The triple world champion is the only Formula One driver to have won a world title in a car of his own construction - the BT19 - which he drove to victory in 1966.
The following year the Brabham team won its second successive world championship when New Zealander Denny Hulme drove the BT20 to victory.
Brabham established himself in Australian oval racing before switching to road racing in the early 1950s.
His driving style matured dramatically at this time and, in 1955, he moved from Australia to Europe to drive for Charles and John Cooper.
That partnership resulted in Brabham's first two championship titles in 1959 and 1960.
It was also in a Cooper that Sir Jack shook the establishment at Indianapolis, qualifying the first modern mid-engined car at the 500 and finishing ninth. What seemed an anomaly at the time would in fact lead to a revolution at the Brickyard and the demise of the classic Indy roadsters.
In 1962, Sir Jack teamed up with fellow Australian Ron Tauranac, now of Ralt Racing fame, to produce the first of the Brabham Marque, the Brabham BT-3.
This particular car debuted in the '62 German Grand Prix and became the first of many successful Brabham cars that have run in Formula One up until the last few years.
Sir Jack also introduced Honda to four-wheeled motor sport, their engines powering the successful Brabham Formula Two chassis in 1966.
Sir Jack scored his final Grand Prix win in South Africa in 1970 before calling his gallant motor racing career to an end at 44 years of age.
Sir Jack never lost contact with the motor racing world and still competes in many different venues. His three sons Geoff, Gary and David have all proven themselves in their own professional racing careers.
Sir Jack Brabham's Racing Record
Formula One World Drivers Champion 1959, 1960 and 1966
Formula One World Constructors Champion 1966 and 1967
Fourteen Grand Prix wins
Thirteen Formula One Pole Positions
Ten second and seven third place finishes
Australian of the Year 1966
Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1967
Knighted for his services to motor sport in 1979
Only driver in Formula One history to win the championship in a car of his own construction
Contested 126 Grand Prix from 1955 to 1970
British Saloon Car Championship in 1965
Won both the Australian and New Zealand Grand Prix three times
Four-time winner of the European Formula Two Championship