Sir John Arthur “Jack” Brabham, OBE was born in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville on April 2, 1926. At the young age of 15 he left school and went to work in an auto repair garage but later became an Australian racing driver and a Formula One champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966.
He served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II and then in 1946 he opened a small repair business. His interest in cars led him to race midget cars and during his first season he won the NSW Championship. It was in 1955 when Jack Brabham made his Grand Prix debut at the British Grand Prix, driving his own personal Maserati 250F. Later on he joined the Cooper Car Company team who initiated the running of cars with engines at their rear, something many of his peers laughed at. This move was advantageous as the weight is concentrated on the rear wheels giving more traction. Brabham won the World Championships both in 1959 and again in 1960.
In 1961 Brabham and Ron Tauranac founded the Brabham Racing Organisation. Jack did not do well with the new engine limit of 1500 cc in Formula One, making no wins, but later when it was changed to 3000 cc he won the championship in a Brabham-Repco. This made him the first driver in Formula One World Championship to win a race in a car carrying his name. After racing for one more year Brabham decided to break away from racing by selling his share to Ron Tauranac and heading back to his home country Australia.
All three of Jack Brabham’s sons – Geoff, Gary and David – are involved in racing in one way or another. Over the years Brabham was given many awards. He was named 1966 Australia’s Man of the Year and was awarded Order of the British Empire in 1967 by the Queen and appointed Knight Bachelor in 1979. In 1990 he was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Then in 2006 Brabham was honoured, along with the marque Cooper at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Brabham, in 2008, was named an Officer of the Order of Australia because of his services to Motor Sports.