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Three-time F1 champion Jack Brabham dies at 88

Three-time F1 world champ Jack Brabham was known as Sir Jack after he was knighted in 1979.

Three-time F1 world champ Jack Brabham was known as Sir Jack after he was knighted in 1979.

BRISBANE, Australia — Jack Brabham, the three-time Formula One champion who famously pushed his car to the finish to claim his first season title, died early this morning at his Gold Coast home. He was 88.

The Australian won world titles in 1959 and '60 and became the only F1 driver to win a championship in a car of his own construction — the rear-engined BT19 — which he drove to the title in 1966.

And in 1961 he brought a Cooper Climax to the Indianapolis 500. It wasn't the first rear-engined car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway but it was the first one good enough (superior handling helped him finished ninth in the 500 despite less power) to make manufacturers think the idea could work.

By the end of the 1960s, every car in the Indy 500 field had the engines in the back.

In 1967 the Brabham team won its second successive F1 world title with New Zealander Denny Hulme driving. In 1970, at 44, Mr. Brabham opened his final season before retirement by winning the South African Grand Prix.

Mr. Brabham's three sons, Geoff, Gary and David also had professional racing careers and 20-year-old grandson Matthew, Geoff's son, drives in Pro Mazda, an IndyCar feeder series.

"It's a very sad day for all of us," David said in a statement. "He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind."

In 1959 at Sebring International Raceway— in the only F1 race ever held in Florida — Mr. Brabham pushed his Cooper Climax T51 across the finish line for fourth place, good enough for the title, after his car ran out of fuel.

Nationwide: Sam Hornish beat pole-sitter Ryan Blaney off a restart with 21 laps to go and hung on to win the Get to Know Newton 250 in Newton, Iowa.

NHRA: Eliminations at the Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., were rained out; they were rescheduled for today.

Three-time F1 champion Jack Brabham dies at 88 05/18/14 [Last modified: Sunday, May 18, 2014 10:10pm]

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