Dan Gurney pays tribute to Sir Jack Brabham

Teammates Brabham and Gurney at Zandvoort in 1964

It is with great sadness that I received the news that my former Formula boss and team mate, the 3 time F 1 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 F 1 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 Tauranac, 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.

Jack Brabham

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 auto racing 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 Gurney

The Brabham Fan car in 1978 when Bernie Ecclestone owned the team

Tributes "are pouring in from the world of Formula One" for JACK BRABHAM, "one of the giants of the sport" who has died at age 88, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Brabham, a three-time world champion, "had been in poor health for some time." His death "will trigger a bout of national mourning in Australia where he was revered as one of the nation’s greatest sportsmen." There was a display in his honor at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March "and there are calls for a state funeral." Brabham was not just an F1 icon "but a pioneer, who had an enormous influence on the development of the sport and some of its most important personalities." RON DENNIS was his chief mechanic for two years "and then went on to lead the McLaren team to become one of the most successful in history." When Brabham decided to retire in '70 at the age of 44, "he sold his eponymous team" which soon fell into the hands of F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE. LONDON TIMES.

The BBC reported former driver STIRLING MOSS and Dennis "have led the tributes." Moss, a rival of Brabham's during their racing days, called him a "wonderful guy" and a "terrific driver." Dennis said the use of the word "legend" to describe Brabham was "entirely justified." BBC.

In Sydney, Peter McKay wrote Brabham "began his motorsport career on Australian speedway dirt tracks in the late 1940s." He headed to Britain and joined the Cooper Racing Team, "with which he won" the '59 and '60 F1 championships. But it was his own Brabham racing cars — designed and engineered with friend and fellow Australian RON TAURANAC — "that led to him winning the 1966 championship." Brabham "is the only person to have won" the F1 world championship in his own car. SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

'ALL-TIME' GREAT: In Melbourne, Mark Fogarty wrote Brabham "was not just Australia’s greatest racing driver, he is also one of our all-time great sporting heroes." Brabham’s achievements in the most dangerous era of F1 motor racing "rank him alongside the nation’s other legends who excelled on the international sports stage." He deserves to be "recognized and revered for his feats behind the wheel of death-trap F1 racers." Brabham was a national sporting "treasure" who put Australian racing drivers — and Australian motorsport — "on the global map and left a rich legacy of Australians who continue to excel in F1 and other major racing categories overseas." THE AGE.

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