Formula 1 World Champion driver in 1959, 1960, and 1966, and double Constructors’ Champion (1966 and 1967) Sir Jack Brabham will be remembered through a trophy awarded in his honor at the inaugural SVRA Brickyard Invitational at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) June 6-8, according to a press release issued on Tuesday, June 3 by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA). The Sir Jack Brabham Commemorative Trophy will be awarded for “the best example of a Brabham race car” and is one of four total trophies to be presented over the weekend. A panel of judges has also been named.
The Brabham Trophy joins the the A.J. Watson Tribute Trophy to be awarded for the “best Indy roadster.” Brabham and Watson were both notable figures in the sport who passed away in May, 2014. Two other prizes will be given for “best of show” and “best pre-war racer.”
Sir Jack Brabham was the only Formula 1 driver to win a world championship driving a car of his own design (1966). Brabham race cars from various years are a popular and frequent presence at historic racing meetings now, and several will be in action at Indianapolis that weekend. Brabham himself had a connection with Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Competing in the Indy 500 a total of four times, Brabham placed ninth in his first try, driving a Cooper-Climax in 1961. The rear-engine car was underpowered but fast in the corners. Its performance foreshadowed the dominance of rear-engine designed cars at Indy starting in 1965 and winning the event every year since.
“Sir Jack Brabham’s passing touched us personally at SVRA as his son Geoff, an outstanding champion in his own right, was originally scheduled to drive in our ‘Indy Legends’ Pro-Am with 26 Indianapolis 500 veterans,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “Geoff had to be with his family in Australia and that is where he needs to be. Our warmest thoughts are with the Brabham family and we hope this trophy demonstrates that.”
SVRA also announced a panel of four judges that will choose the winner of the Watson Trophy at the SVRA Brickyard Invitational. Leading the team will be Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief Historian and Auto Racing Hall of Fame Member Donald Davidson. The four judges are: Jerry Sneva, Bob Harkey, Mel Kenyon and Eldon Rasmussen. Davidson is also forming a team that will judge the pre-war trophy.
“I am really looking forward to this special weekend,” said Davidson. “So many of our fans love the Speedway for its history and it is wonderful to have a weekend devoted to racing history. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
The SVRA Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational happens at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway June 6-8 and is open to the public. SVRA expects the event to be the largest ever single gathering of race cars competing in action in the United States to date. There are over 700 cars presently on the entry list, according to SVRA. Both the iconic oval and the road course will see cars in action throughout the weekend, even on the same day, another first.
Races in 11 groups will run continuously all day, every day. Vintages covering 100 years of motor sports will be available for spectators to both look at up close in the paddock and watch in action on the track. As is the custom at historic racing competitions, car drivers, owners, and crew welcome the opportunity to chat with spectators about the cars, and it is a family event.
The featured race of the weekend will be on Sunday, June 8, when 26 Indy 500 veterans return to the Brickyard to compete in the “Indy Legends” Pro-Am. The pros and amateurs will trade off driving a 40-minute race of 1963-1972 era Corvettes, Mustangs, and Camaros.
Parnelli Jones, who won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 in a Watson roadster, will serve as Brickyard Invitational Grand Marshal for the weekend. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser will lead the Brickyard Invitational high-speed oval experience, which is open to all cars entered in races for the weekend.
Camping at IMS will also be available. See the SVRA or IMS websites for more information.