Former F1 world champion Brabham dead at 88

Sun May 18, 2014 8:52pm EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Jack Brabham, who won three Formula One world titles and is the only man to have won the championship driving a car that bore his name, died at the age of 88 on Monday.

A fierce competitor, brilliant engineer and sound businessman, Brabham claimed the Formula One titles in 1959 and 1960 for Cooper Racing before going on to win a third in 1966 for the Brabham marque.

He died at his home on Australia's Gold Coast.

"It's a very sad day for all of us," his youngest son David, who also raced in Formula One, said in a statement.

"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."

A former Royal Australian Air Force mechanic, Brabham began racing midget cars on dirt tracks in Australia in 1948 before moving to Britain to pursue his career in the 1950s.

"On track he was always the toughest of tough competitors, tough sometimes to the point at which I’d wonder how could such a nice bloke out of a car grow such horns and a tail inside one," Stirling Moss, the Briton who was one of his biggest rivals, recalled in the foreword to the "The Jack Brabham Story" in 2004.

"You'd always know when Jack was on a charge because he'd crouch down and almost disappear within the cockpit. Tail-out, broadsiding, showering me with gravel and tuffets from the verge.   Continued...

Former Formula One driver Jack Brabham of Australia is seen behind the pits before the qualifying session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 26, 2011.  REUTERS/Scott Wensley