CONCORD, N.C.—Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose is well aware of those who have preceded him, and it was no surprise he issued a statement earlier this week on learning of the death of fellow Australian racer Jack Brabham.
Ambrose’s father Ross Ambrose, co-founder of British race car manufacturer Van Diemen International Ltd., knew Brabham personally.
“My father knew the family a little bit,” Ambrose said. “I know David Brabham, and I guess the next generation of Brabhams, and now there’s a third generation of racers coming through, with David and Geoff’s sons coming through doing very, very well in their own racing careers. They are Australia’s version of the Petty family.
“The great thing about Jack Brabham was, not only was he a fantastic race car driver, but he built his own cars. He was the engineer, he was the mechanic, and he was the driver. To think of what he was able to achieve from very humble beginnings… He took himself to Europe and started his own company, building his own race cars for himself…
“Jack is certainly a big figurehead in Australian racing and paved the way for guys like me to go to Europe and have a go. He was a great man. I’ve met him a few times and was sorry to see him go, but he left a great legacy for Australian racing–no doubt.”