Racing legend’s son and grandson to be guests of honor at Masters Historic Festival
The extraordinary life and career of Sir Jack Brabham, who passed away on Monday, will be celebrated at this weekend’s (May 24 and 25) Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch on Sunday, with a special parade of cars built and raced by his eponymous team, led by youngest son and Le Mans winner David (in photo).
To many, Sir Jack Brabham epitomised a pioneering era in Formula One, winning two World Championships in the revolutionary Cooper before starting his own team and winning the title with it in 1966, a feat unmatched to this day. The team was eventually bought by Bernie Ecclestone, who found further success with Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet during his rise to prominence in the sport. Cars representing a rich cross-section of this history, many of which will also be racing this weekend, are expected to take part in the display.
Born in the UK before moving to Australia at the age of five, David is the youngest of Sir Jack’s three sons and he followed his brothers Geoff and Gary into racing, which included two seasons in F1. He will drive his father’s BT24 car, which took the team to a second World Championship with fellow antipodean Denny Hulme in 1967. “Having seen the response from around the world, it’s only hit me now how big a name he was,” David remarked. He also paid tribute to his adopted country: “Dad knew that if he wanted to achieve something great he had to come to England, and set up base here and it was a second home for him. He used to enjoy coming to the UK and spent a lot of time here.”
On his way to the 1966 title, Sir Jack was victorious in the British Grand Prix, the second to be held at the Kent venue. “Brands Hatch really was a second home for the family,” David said ahead of the event. “Dad had a fantastic relationship with John Webb (former circuit MD and promoter), and both the main straight and the Brabham hospitality suite are named after him. When I first came here I lived at Brands Hatch for six months with (older brother) Gary, we were both instructors and the family has won a lot here, so it’s a very special place for us. To come here and drive one of dad’s old Brabham cars at a time like this after his passing – it’s going to be difficult to keep the emotions at bay, that’s for sure.”
The Brabham legacy continues with Sir Jack’s grandsons Matthew and Sam Brabham, and the latter, who races in Formula Ford UK, will be joining father David at the event this weekend. David admits that his role as a racing dad has given him a greater appreciation for his own father: “There were certain things that my dad could see me doing that either pleased him or not and now having seen my son go through it I feel like I’m reliving my father’s life in that sense. Dad was delighted to see how well Matthew and Sam were doing as well as the other kids in the family who aren’t racing.”
The Masters Historic Festival will also feature an F1 Showcase to mark the 50th anniversary of the its first Grand Prix, comprising a handful of truly iconic Grand Prix machines, including a 1986 Williams FW11, as raced to victory by Nigel Mansell in the final World Championship encounter at the circuit. Ayrton Senna's 1985 Lotus 97T/2 will also be on display, the same car in which he claimed his first Grand Prix win in Estoril and also claimed pole position for the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. An ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton B191 will also appear on display, the very car in which the seven-time world champion achieved his first F1 podium. There will be races for Grand Prix cars from the 1930s to 1980s on the full Grand Prix circuit, as well as sports and touring car contests.