Sir Jack Brabham, the only man to win the Formula 1 World Championship in a car bearing his own name, has died at the age of 88. He passed away on Monday morning at his home on The Gold Coast, Australia.
John Arthur Brabham – known as Jack – was born in Hurstville, just outside of Sydney on 2 April 1926. He was immersed in motoring and engineering from an early age, leaving school at 15 to work at a garage and study mechanical engineering.
After a spell in the Royal Australian Air Force, Brabham started racing in 1948, driving a Midget car that he'd built for a friend. He was successful and, after climbing Australia's racing ladder, he moved to Europe to race in 1955.
Brabham quickly befriended John Cooper of Cooper Cars, and made his Formula 1 debut at the British Grand Prix behind the wheel of a Cooper T40, retiring with engine problems.
By 1958 he was a full-time grand prix driver with Cooper, and in 1959 he won the Monaco Grand Prix, following it up with a win in the British GP at Aintree. He clinched his first world title in dramatic circumstances when he ran out of fuel on the final lap of the United States GP but pushed his car across the finish line for fourth place, good enough for the crown.
A back-to-back run of five victories ensured a successful title defence in 1960, but Cooper's car for the new 1.5-litre engine formula that dawned in 1961 wasn't competitive and Brabham scored just three points.
For 1962 he set up his own eponymous team. The next few years were challenging, and at one point he considered quitting driving to focus on running the team. In 1964 Dan Gurney brought the Brabham team its first grand prix victory.