- March 29, 1961
- Not Active
Sir Jack Brabham, one of the greatest racing legends in a history of motorsport, had three sons, and all three were involved in racing. While Geoff and David both can say they are Le Mans winners, but also Geoff was the IMSA champion and David is a former F1 driver, Gary Brabham was the less successful of three brothers. His only championship title in career was the 1989 British Formula 3000 title.
Gary followed father and older brother
When you are the son of Jack Brabham, then it's natural to follow the footsteps of your father and became a racing driver. Gary, who was born on March 29, 1961, in Wimbledon, England, started to race in 1982. In that time, his older brother Geoff was already a successful racer, with few titles in his pocket (Formula 2, Formula Vee, Can-Am), so Gary also decided to enter into the world of racing, although his mother was hoping that Gary would be a farmer. But, the racing genes prevailed.
Podium in debut race of Formula Ford
Gary's first competition was Australian Formula Ford. In his first race, at Calder Park, he finished third. At the end of the season, he was 12th in the points. In 1983, Gary moved to England, to compete in the British Formula Ford. He also debuted in the sports car racing, participating at John Player Grand Prix of Europe at Brands Hatch with March 83S. The race was the part of the Thundersports Series.
Two seasons in the Thundersports Series
In 1984, he continued to compete both in the Formula Ford and Thundersports Series. In the Formula Ford, he finished sixth, in the Thundersports Series, he scored one victory at Snetterton, driving Tiga TS84 (Ford) alongside Tim Lee-Davey. One more season in the Thundersports Series followed in 1985. He was sharing the Shrike P15 (Ford) of TechSpeed Racing with Divina Galica.
Formula 3 debut with father's team
In 1986, Gary joined father's team Jack Brabham Racing in the British Formula 3 Championship. In ten races with Volkswagen-powered Ralt RT30, his best result was second place at Silverstone. It was his only podium and he finished fifth in the final standings. Gary continued to drive for father's team in 1987, scoring two victories at Silverstone and Donington Park, to finish sixth in the championship points. He missed the last three round of the championship due to short budget.
In October 1987, Gary traveled to Australia to compete in the Bathurst 1000 race, alongside Juan-Manuel Fangio II in the factory-entered #41 BMW M3. They finished 16th.
Runner-up in the 1988 F3 season
For 1988, Brabham changed the team and joined Bowman Racing for the third season in the Formula 3. It was his best F3 season, as he won four races and added six more podiums, to finish as a runner-up behind JJ Lehto. Brabham also won two non-championship races, the Scottish Superprix and Oulton Park Gold Cup. Good results earned him a chance to test Formula One car. He tested Benetton B188 at Jerez.
Gary was the 1989 British F3000 champion
The British Formula 3000 Championship was Gary's competition in 1989. He was driving for Bromley Motorsport and managed to win four of nine races, taking his first championship title in a career. During the season, he also participated in few races of the International F3000 championship, driving for Bromley and Leyton House teams, but without notable results.
Le Mans debut with Porsche 962C
Besides his championship title, the highlight of the season was Gary's debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. He joined Vern Schuppan and Eje Elgh in the Team Schuppan's Porsche 962C. They finished 13th overall.
Disastrous Formula One season with Life team
In 1990, the new chance to enter the Formula One appeared. After few tests with Leyton House and Brabham team, Gary joined the Italian Life team in its debut season. The team had a disastrous season, failing to prequalify in all 14 attempts. Gary was part of that in the first two rounds of the championship, at United States Grand Prix and Brazilian Grand Prix.
At Phoenix street circuit, the Life W190 was 35 seconds slower than fastest car in the prequalifying session. At Interlagos, Brabham didn't set lap time because engine blew up on the first lap.
Brother David took his seat in Brabham F1 team
After such a disaster, Gary left the team. There was a small chance to join the Brabham team but his brother David gets a seat. Instead of Formula One, for the remainder of the season, Gary competed in the International F3000 championship for Middlebridge Racing. He scored two podiums at Monza and Pergusa, to finish 11th in the points.
Gary also had a one-off appearance in the Australian Endurance Championship, partnering brother David at Eastern Creek 500 race. They were driving Ford Sierra RS500 and finished fourth.
Brabham brother's victory at 12h of Sebring
Later in the season, Gary participated in one more race in the US, at Miami, driving John Shapiro's Nissan GTP ZX-T. He also had a one-off appearance in the Interseries, driving Lenz Elektronik's Stürtz-BMW SM at Brands Hatch. Gary also participated at 1991 Bathurst 1000, together with Steve Millen in Allan Moffat's Ford Sierra RS500, but they didn't finish the race.
Sebring and Daytona with Nissan
In 1992, Gary was invited to participate at Daytona and Sebring endurance races with Nissan Performance Technology team. At 24 hours of Daytona, his partners in the #84 Nissan R90CK were Derek Daly and Steve Millen. They retired after an accident, while running third. At 12 hours of Sebring, the winning crew from the previous year (Brabham/Brabham/Daly) was expanded with Arie Luyendyk and they finished second overall.
Two appearances in the Indy Car races
In October 1992, Gary participated for the last time at Bathurst 1000. He competed in the Allan Moffat's Ford Sierra RS500, alongside Charlie O'Brien. The duo finished 25th overall.
In 1993 and 1994, Gary had recorded two participations in the Indy Car World Series races at Australia's Surfers Paradise. He was the first Australian driver to race in Australian Indy Grand Prix. In 1993, his team was Split Cycle Racing and he finished 14th, three laps behind the winner Nigel Mansell. In 1994, Gary was driving for Bettenhausen Racing and retired after ten laps due to transmission failure.
Sexual abuse conviction in 2016
Faced with having no arrangement with any racing team, Gary announced the retirement from racing in 1995. Since then he occassionaly gave a racing lessons. Gary reappeared on the race track in 2000, driving a Brabham BT23 Repco to class victory and third overall in the Race of Legends support race at the Adelaide 500 V8 Supercars event.
The ugly side of his personality was revealed during the trial after the charges of rape and indecent treatment of a child. In April 2016, he was sentenced to two years and three months jail. He was convicted for sexual assault which occurred between 2003 and 2007.