Imagine a one-man hybrid of Adrian Newey and Michael Schumacher. This was the impact that racing legend Sir Jack Brabham, who has died aged 88, made in Formula One at his peak.
The Australian driver won the F1 title in 1959, 1960 and 1966, and was knighted in 1979, the first ever racing driver to receive the honour.
After an early career racing in New Zealand and Australia, he came to the UK and made his Grand Prix debut in 1955. His first win in F1 came in Monaco in 1959, but it was in 1966 that Sir Jack secured his place in history.
Driving a car he had built himself – the rear-engined BT19 (above) – he won his third world championship. He was the first man in history to have designed, built and driven a championship-winning car, a record that stands to this day.
His son David confirmed overnight that Sir Jack had died at his home on Australia’s Gold Coast after a long battle with liver disease.
“He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of, “ David told BBC News. “He will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind”.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said: “Australia has lost a legend. With his pioneering spirit, Sir Jack Brabham personified many great Australian characteristics. He was respected and admired for his spirit, and for his great skill as an engineer”
A tough competitor in a field of contemporaries including Sir Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart, he continued racing into his 40s and won his last race at the age of 43 at the 1970 South African Grand Prix.
The Brabham name was eventually bought by none other than Bernie Ecclestone, and the team name remained in the sport until well into the 1990s.
RIP Sir Jack, and thanks for the memories.