Le Mans, France - Thursday 6 July 2017
Sir Jack Honoured on 50th Anniversary of Le Mans French Grand Prix Victory
David Brabham returned to La Sarthe on Wednesday evening, 5th July, as guest of honour at a special conference staged at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum, to mark the 50th anniversary of the only French Grand Prix held at the Bugatti circuit, won by triple Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham.
Sir Jack’s 1967 race victory, together with sons Geoff and David’s respective outright 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, makes Brabham the only family to win the sole F1 race and the biggest endurance race in the world at La Sarthe.
Invited to attend by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), outright and double GT1 class 24 Hours of Le Mans champion David joined reflections on the historic 1967 French Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans in front of a live audience. Staged amid the stunning backdrop of the Museum’s feature exhibition: ‘Le Mans 1967 – un Grand Prix d’exception’, which remains open to the public until August 31st, the event was also streamed live online to fans across the globe.
To mark the golden anniversary of Jack’s historic win and the Brabham family’s notable Le Mans history, ACO President Pierre Fillion presented David with a stunning and poignant framed set of photographs, featuring Sir Jack celebrating his 1967 F1 win alongside David atop of the 24 Hours of Le Mans podium for Peugeot in 2009.
Following a memorable evening, David commented: “What a wonderful visit to Le Mans, my sincere thanks go to the ACO for making the trip so special.
“The celebration of the anniversary of my father’s French GP win at Le Mans was demonstrated beautifully by the Museum’s stunning display. Seeing old footage of the race, the old poster of the event and the beautiful cars that graced the grid at the time in all their glory was amazing.
“Denny Hulme’s original Brabham BT24, in which he came second in that race, was on display and I loved the life-sized cut-outs of the drivers on the grid. Around 250 fans attended the special function and some of the people there saw Jack win the GP and witness my own win in 2009. To be presented with such a special gift to mark the occasion finished off what was an extremely special night.”
Still the only driver to win the Formula One World Championship in a car of his own manufacture in 1966, Sir Jack earned his first win as reigning champion and the 1967 season on 2nd July at the Bugatti circuit. Graham Hill took the early race lead before Jack found a way pass, who in turn was temporarily overhauled by Jim Clark. Engine problems for both Clark and Hill, however, would see both drivers retire within the first hour.
With the Brabham BT24 once again demonstrating the unrivalled reliability of Brabham cars, Jack remained unchallenged to finish nearly one minute ahead of teammate Denny Hulme. While sealing a Brabham 1-2, Hulme’s second-place finish earned a six-point lead in the ’67 title fight he would eventually win, earning back-to-back Driver and Constructor titles for the Brabham team.
Images courtesy of Louis MONNIER / ACO