Three-time F1 world champion Brabham dies after long illness
First motorsport driver in history to be knighted has passed away at his home in Australia after a long illness.
Sir Jack Brabham, the three-time Formula One champion, has died at the age of 88 after a long illness.
The Australian, who passed away at his Gold Coast home with his wife Lady Margaret by his side, secured the title in 1959 and 1960 with the Cooper Racing Team and again in 1966 in his own Brabham car.
Brabham, who was known as ‘Black Jack’, was the first driver in history to be knighted for his services to motorsport, receiving the honour in 1979, and is the only person to have won the F1 world championship in a car of his own construction.
On behalf of the family, Brabham’s youngest son David said in a statement: “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.”
Brabham’s grandson Matthew, who is a racing driver based in Florida, tweeted: “RIP Poppy. Will miss you very much. You were my inspiration. ‘Get after em’.”
A former Royal Australian Air Force mechanic, Brabham began racing midget cars in 1948 before he moved to Britain and won the Formula One title with the Cooper Racing team in 1959 – when he famously ran out of fuel in the last race and pushed his car to the finish to claim his first world championship – and 1960.
Brabham and his friend and fellow Australian Ron Tauranac then set up a company to design and build their own cars, one of which – the BT19 – he drove to the F1 title in 1966. He also won the constructors’ championship that year, and again in 1967.
Through his partnership with Tauranac, more than 500 Brabham race cars were built from the team’s British Surrey base in the 1960s alone, while the Brabham name continued in Formula One for 30 years.
In his final years, he battled failing eyesight, problems with his kidneys and liver disease.
In 2009, Brabham revealed he had to spend three days a week in hospital having the treatment after his kidneys started to fail in 2007.
“Unfortunately, I don’t get the time to do the things I want any more,” said Brabham.
“I really only get two days a week where I can do anything. I am a dialysis patient and it takes five hours, three days a week. I have really had my wings clipped.”
He added: “The last Formula One event I went to was in Melbourne a couple of years ago.
“I used to go every year, but unfortunately my condition doesn’t let me. But I am not complaining. Aside from my kidneys, I am in good health.
“I had ambitions to keep on achieving things in my life, but I am resigned to the fact I have to be in hospital three days a week.”
Brabham is survived by his wife, Lady Margaret, and sons Geoff, Gary and David and their families.
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.