Tributes are flowing in for three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, AO, OBE, who passed away at his home on the Gold Coast early this morning aged 88.
Brabham was a champion and a pioneer. He won the Formula One world championship in 1959, 1960 and 1966 – the third in a car built with his own hands, becoming the first man to achieve that feat.
He began his working life as a mechanic with the RAAF, serving in World War II before starting his own engineering firm.
His racing career was born on speedway dirt tracks in the late 1940s. He then hit the bitumen, competing in road races in the early 1950s.
Brabham then set his sights on Formula One, moving to the UK and joining the Cooper Racing team in 1955.
As well as winning three championships, during his 15-year career he competed in 126 Grand Prix races, notching up 14 wins and 13 pole positions.
He was also named Formula One World Constructors Champion in 1966 and 1967, before retiring in 1970.
Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation Ronald J Walker and CEO Andrew Westacott expressed their sadness on behalf of the board and staff.
“The contributions that Sir Jack made to the sport as well as the Australian Grand Prix will never be forgotten and his legacy will continue to resonate amongst drivers and fans alike.”
Brabham was knighted in 1979, the first motorsport identity to receive the honour.
The Australian sporting icon made a public appearance just yesterday at the Sunshine Coast, reunited with his 1967 Brabham BT23 that he’d personally built and raced.
Sir Jack Brabham is survived by his wife Lady Margaret and his sons Geoff, Gary and David.
Many motorsport enthusiasts, as well as Brabham’s friends and family, have reached out on social media this morning.
Among them, David Brabham tweeted: "Thanks for all the kind messages about my fathers peaceful passing, it is appreciated by the whole family."
His grandson Matthew Brabham - himself an aspiring racer - joined the chorus: "RIP Poppy. Will miss you very much. You were my inspiration. "Get after em"," he tweeted.