As fast as anyone when his mind was right, Gurney immediately raised Brabham’s game by finishing third and second in Belgium and Holland. He also finished second at the world championship’s South African finale, where he set fastest lap, but had suffered a spate of DNFs between times.
But it was Jack’s BT3 that provided the marque with its first F1 win at the non-championship Solitude GP – less than a year after its category debut.
This combo also won the non-championship Austrian GP on the bumpy Zeltweg airfield circuit, a real car-breaker.
Brabham’s first world championship victory arrived in late June 1964, Gurney winning the French GP at Rouen. He also won the Mexican finale. BT7, suited to Dunlop’s new ‘doughnut’ tyre, was a match for any rival that season but was hobbled regularly by reliability issues that followed no discernible pattern.
Brabham slipped to fourth in the constructors’ standings.
It recovered a place in 1965 but scored no world championship victories. Gurney ended the season strongly – three thirds and two seconds in consecutive GPs – and Jack, approaching 40, was clearly preparing for his retirement, standing aside on occasion for F2 frontrunner Denny Hulme.
But Gurney, inspired by his boss’s route, decided to go it alone in 1966. As did Bruce McLaren, Jack’s former Cooper team-mate. Both would make a success of their teams – each winning a GP in a car of their own construction – but Jack remained the daddy.