Ron Tauranac, designer of the Formula One cars in which Australia's Sir Jack Brabham and New Zealand's Denny Hulme won world titles in the 1960s, has been awarded an Order of Australia (the country's highest non-military honor) in today's...
Ron Tauranac, designer of the Formula One cars in which Australia's Sir Jack Brabham and New Zealand's Denny Hulme won world titles in the 1960s, has been awarded an Order of Australia (the country's highest non-military honor) in today's Australia Day Honours.
Tauranac, 76, was at one time the world's most prolific constructor of open-wheeler racing cars through his Ralt company.
The peak of his career was the creation of the Repco-Brabham cars in which Sir Jack Brabham took his third F1 world title in 1966 and the late Denny Hulme his crown the next year.
Tauranac was born in Kent, England, of French origins, but spent much of his life in New South Wales -- initially at Newcastle and then in Sydney -- before settling in England, where he still lives at Woking.
Mike Kable, the late Motoring Editor of The Australian newspaper, wrote in Motor Racing Australia magazine in 1993 that Tauranac was "one of the most influential, most respected persons" in motor sport.
Kable described Tauranac as a "quiet, self-effacing and decidedly gracious man, who deserves a huge place in motor racing posterity when its 20th century history is written".
Tauranac was Brabham's partner for many years and after the triple world champion driver retired at the end of 1970 ran their F1 team alone for a year until selling it to Bernie Ecclestone.
Tauranac played a major part in persuading Japanese motor giant Honda to enter motor racing -- a move which led to it becoming the dominant engine supplier in Formula One in the late 1980s and early 1990s, repeatedly powering the Williams car of Nigel Mansell and then the McLarens of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to victory.
He has been the mentor to many of the great F1 designers of the past 40 years, including Patrick Head (Williams team), Gordon Murray (Brabham and McLaren) and Australian Ralph Bellamy. He remains a consultant to Honda.
Sir Jack Brabham said he was "extremely pleased and proud that Ron Tauranac's talents have finally been publicly recognised".
"The work that Ron has done for the international motor and motor racing industries, and the Australian-honed skills that he has demonstrated for so long around the world, have not previously been acknowledged as they should have been. An Order of Australia is a fitting reward for a very talented and exceptional man," Sir Jack said.