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GP Week : Issue 202
It is with great sadness that I received the news that my former Formula 1 boss and team mate, the three time F1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, passed away in Australia over the weekend. A motor racing giant has left our planet whose combined achievements of F 1 World Championship driver and car constructor in all likelihood will never be equaled. Dark haired 'Black Jack' was a fierce competitor, an outstanding engineer, a tiger of a driver, an excellent politician and a hands-on creator and visionary, he opened the rear-engine door at Indianapolis and raced there, he was a doer, a true Aussie pioneer! Jack and I go far back in history together. We raced against each other on the F1 circuit since 1959 driving Coopers, Ferraris, BRMs and Porsches. In 1963 he hired me as his team mate for his newly established Brabham F I team and during the next three years we really got to know each other. We discovered we shared similar traits. We were not only interested in driving racing cars but in building them, improving them, searching for every tiny bit of technical advantage we could find. I see both of us sitting in garages all over the world bent over engines, talking to each other and to our team: Ron Tauraunac, Phil Kerr, Roy Billington, Tim Wall, Nick Gooze and Denis Hulme. We shared the camaraderie of a closely-knit team pursuing a common purpose, the racing tragedies and the glory days of the 1960s bonded us for life. Since we retired from driving, both in the fall of 1970, we have stayed in touch. I last spoke to Jack a few months ago on the phone – we were looking forward to the golden anniversary of the first World Championship F 1 victory for the Brabham marque: The French Grand Prix at Rouen, June 28th, 1964, which I won for the team 50 years ago this summer. In 1966 we both went our separate ways. I followed the trail he had blazed by trying to build, race and win with my own F I cars. I have been told that only three men in the history of autoracing have managed to do that, Bruce McLaren and I won races but Sir Jack Brabham won World Championships – he will be forever in a class all by himself. I will miss you Jack! You showed the way! With gratitude and admiration. Dan Dan Gurney Ron Dennis Among the personal tributes which have flowed in the past week, two stand out – from people who worked closely with and knew sir Jack Brabham as well as anyone – the great Dan Gurney (left) and one-time mechanic and subsequent McLaren team boss Ron Dennis ... Everybody at McLaren is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Jack Brabham. Below follows the thoughts of McLaren Group Chairman and CEO, Ron Dennis: The word 'legend' is often used to describe successful sportsmen, but often it exaggerates their status. In the case of Sir Jack Brabham, however, it's entirely justified. A three-time Formula 1 world champion, he remains the only driver to win a Formula 1 world championship driving a car bearing his own name - a unique achievement that will surely never be matched. When I started out in Formula 1 in the late 1960s, I worked first for Cooper and then for Brabham. Even as a callow youth, I could recognise greatness when I saw it, and I'll always regard it as an honour and a privilege to have worked for Sir Jack. I learned a lot from him too. So, on behalf of all at McLaren, I'd like to pay tribute to one of the most illustrious names in motor racing history, and above all to extend heartfelt condolences to Sir Jack's widow Margaret and his three sons Geoff, David and Gary. Sir Jack Brabham, legend, RIP. F1 >>> sir JACK BrABHAM 24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: