Sir Jack Brabham started his racing career in 1948 racing midget cars in Australia before going into road racing in Australia and New Zealand because of his success in the midget cars. He teamed up with the Cooper Car Company's racing team not only racing for them but also building the cars, using his skills he learnt from his time in the Royal Australian Air Force and from his engineering workshop before he started racing. His contribution to Cooper in the design of the mid engine car would assist the team to win the Formula One championship in 1959 and again in 1960. In 1962 Sir Jack would go on to establish his own car with the fellow countryman Ron Tauranac.. Within four years of creating the team, Sir Jack would go on to win the Formula One Championship and become the first in history to win the F1 championship whilst driving his own car. This accolade still stands today and likely to be in place for some time to come. Not only that but in the 1960s Brabham became the largest manufacture of customer racing cars in the world.
When Sir Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac set up the company it was called Motor Racing Developments (MRD) which produced customer racing cars for Formula Junior first appearing in 1961. In 1965 it's said that Sir Jack consider retirement from driving to concentrate on managing his own team, Dan Gurney stepped in to his seat however at the end of the year Gurney announced he was to leave in order to set up his own team. Brabham would go on to race until 1970 when he retired and returned to Australian as a three time world champion. He would also go on to set up Engine Developments Ltd in 1971 with John Judd, now known as Judd Power.
Despite his retirement the F1 team continued under the management of Ron Tauranac who signed Graham Hill to drive in 1971, however Tauranac felt his budget for F1 of around £100,000 was a gamble he couldn't not do own his own anymore. He would sell the company for the same price as his budget to Bernie Ecclestone, who would run the name Brabham from 1972 to 1982 with some famous staff from the late Charlie Whiting, Ron Dennis, Herbie Bash & Gordon Murray.
Jack Brabham had three sons who would all enter into the world of motorsport under his support. Geoff would go into Indycar and sportscar racer to go onto win 5 sports car championship in America and also he would win the 24 hours of Le Mans in the Peugeot 905 in 1993. Gary Brabham raced in Australia and became the British Formula 3000 (now known as F2) he would also compete in Le Mans in 1989 with Team Schuppan in Porsche 962c finishing 13th overall. He would also appear in Formula One however it would be a very short lived career, after failing to qualify for two grand prix with Life project, the troubled team failed to prequalify for all 14 of its attempts during the 1990 season. He quit the team in disgust when it the team was showing no sign of improvement. There was a small chance he could have joined the Brabham team however there was confusion over his contract with Life team which would stop him.
David would compete a numerous championships, he started in Karts in 1983, moving to the Ford Laser series, Formula Ford and the Australian Formula 2 which he won in 1987, in 1989 he joined the Bowman team and won the Formula 3 Championship with them. David would make the step into F1 under the Brabham team, having been sold three times since his father started the team. During the 1990 season he managed to qualify the uncompetitive Judd engine six times out of 14 races, he would not continue in F1 the following year, however he would go on to join Tom Walkinshaw Racing with Jaguar for 91. In the same year he would win the Spa 24 hours driving a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R. He would enter the Le Man's 24 hours in 93 alongside David Coulthard in the TWR Jaguar however they would not finish after being disqualified. In 1994 David would return to F1 this time with Simtek alongside Ronald Ratzenberger, in the fateful year which would see Ronald losing his life at the San Mario Grand Prix in the same weekend as Aryton Senna. The tradition in these tragic event was the team would withdraw, however David' saw the demoralisation around him and took the decision to race on. He would Unfortantley not score any championship points that year, however showed strong character and leadership in driving the team forward during the tragic times. He then moved on to touring cars and the JGTC GT500 championship with McLaren F1. He would also win the Petit Le Mans race in 1999 with Panoz.
His success did not stop there he would be a regular in Sports car series, competing and wining the Bathrust 1000, along with the Le Mans 24 hours. He won this outright in 2009 with Peugeot like his brother Geoff, he also won class winner with Aston Martin twice in 2007 and 8 with Darren Turner, he also came second overall with the stunning Bentley Speed 8.
In 2009 there was speculation Brabham would return to return to F1 when Franz Hilmer said he had used the name to lodge an entry for 2010, however this was not accepted, and the Brabham family later obtained the legal recognition of their exclusive rights to the family name brand, thankfully.
The Future of Brabham.
In 2014 David Brabham announced the reformation of Brabham, Racing team under the name of Project Brabham which has confirmed they will return to international sports care racing and the 24 hours of Le Mans with them targeting 2021/22 season of the WEC in the GTE class with the BT62. The entry will be run and funded in house by Brabham Automotive and partners including sponsors. I personally can't wait to see it thundering down the Mulsanne Straight.
Not only is a team enough the racing DNA has carried through. Matthew Brabham son of Geoff Brabham started karting in 2001 at the age of 7, he would go on to compete in the Australian Formula Ford Championship, he would also compete in America just like his dad and compete in the US F2000 National Championship, and the Pro Mazda series. In 2014 he became the youngest ever driver to compete in the Formula E when he replaced Charles Pic for the Andretti Autosport team at age 20, in the same year he would compete in Indy Lights then in 2016 in IndyCar for the PIRTEAK Team Murray team. He has also won the class win in the Bathrust 12 hours race for Boat Works Racing.
Also David's son Sam Brabham has taking up the racing overalls. He two started in Kart at age 16 in 2011 and quickly moved on to British Formula Ford Championship finishing 4 in 2013, and second in the scholarship class. In 2018 he returned to the track in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in the Pro AM class which he finhsied 10th in the championship. He would come back this year as a guest driver, where i got to see him race at Silverstone, supporting the WEC.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Brabham's and hope they continue to be part of the Motorsport family for years to come.