Supercharged legends of Aussie motor racing
Blow out the speed threshold with our rundown of the biggest and best motorsport legends of Australian racing.
1. Sir Jack Brabham
Three-time World Formula One champion Brabham (1959, 1960, 1966) was a talented engineer, successful businessman and the first and only person to win a Formula One world championship driving one of his own cars with his own engine for his own teami. Nicknamed 'Black Jack' for his dark hair and impressive stubble, he hated being beaten and even pushed his car over the line to win the 1959 Formula One in Florida after a mechanic had failed to fill it up and it ran out of petrol. Born the son of a grocer in Hurstville, Sydney, Brabham came to motorsports only accidentally, when a friend had to suddenly retire from midget-car racing at his wife's insistenceii. Brabham took over and discovered he had the quick reflexes needed for success.
2. Peter Brock
Nicknamed Brocky, Peter Perfect and The King of the Mountain, Peter Brock had a record nine wins in the Bathurst 500/1000 between 1972 and 1987. He was a high-profile driver, presenting shows like Police Camera Action. Born in a Victorian country town, where he lived all his life, Brocky's skills were developed by driving an Austin 7, which had no brakes or body, on the family farmiii. In 1986 he promoted a controversial "Energy Polariser", a device made of crystals and magnets in an epoxy resin, which was supposed to improve vehicle performance, and won the Australian Skeptics Bent Spoon Awardiv. He died aged 61 in a racing crash at Gidgegannup, Western Australia, in 2006. Channel 10 is currently making a telemovie about his life.
3. Alan Jones
The son of an Australian Grand Prix racing driver, Stan Jones, in 1980 Alan joined Jack Brabham as one of Australia's two Formula One championsv. Jones used to wear his lucky red underpants on race days and won 12 Grands Prix out of 116 starts and finished on the podium 24 times. He began his racing career with go-karts, winning the Victorian Junior Go-Kart Championship in 1958-59vi. One of his cars was infamously sponsored by London rubber manufacturer and condom maker, Durex, which led the BBC to threaten to not televise the racevii.
4. Jim Richards
Known as an unassuming quiet achiever, 'Gentleman Jim' won Bathurst seven times, the Targa Tasmania eight times and is a Carrera Cup winner. A Kiwi honoured in the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame, Richards says he has never deliberately driven into someone to gain advantage, as he prefers the skill of passing other drivers cleanly. He never considers himself a loser, as he just loves driving as fast as possibleviii. You're welcome to slip into something non-flammable and join Richards in laps in a Porsche around Eastern Creek International Raceway (Sydney) for $695ix.
5. Mark Skaife
A five-time champion of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and a five-time winner of the Bathurst 1000, Skaife was in 482 race starts with 90 wins and five drivers' championships. He began racing in Karts, graduating to cars at just 17 years old and had a career spanning 22 years. He joined the Holden Racing Team in 1997 and was a co-driver with Peter Brock for Brock's last two events. After retiring in 2008, Skaife was the V8 Supercar Commission chairman for two years, a commentator for Channel 7's V8 coverage, and was co-host of a Stick-Shift radio show on Triple M. He also offers input to car development, design and track safetyx.
i Gover, P. 2014,
'Former three-time World Formula one champion Sir Jack Brabham dead', Foxtel
Sports Motorsport, 19 May, viewed 4 January 2015,
ii Carman, G. 2014,
'Jack Brabham turned formula one racing on its head',
smh.com.au, 19 May, viewed 4 January
iii Kersher, R. 2006,
'Peter Brock's Austin 7 boy-racer found in factory',
Carsguide, 8 November, viewed 4
January 2016, 8 November,
iv Williams, B. 2016,
'History of the Bent Spoon Award', Australian Skeptics Inc, viewed 4 January
v Jones, A. 2010,
'Alan Jones MBE ASM', 15 June, viewed 4 January 2016,
vi Craddock, R. 2013,
'Formula One world champion Alan Jones reflects on grand prix career', The
Advertiser, 9 March, viewed 4 January 2016,
'Alan Jones', ESPN, viewed 4 January 2016,
viii Lindley, G. 2005,
'Jim Richards and son: more to winning',
Signs of the Times, 1 October, viewed 4 January 2016,
ix 2016, 'Porsche Hot
laps with Jim Richards', Adrenalin, viewed 4 January 2016,
2009, Biography, Markskaife.com, viewed 4 January 2016,