Sir Jack Brabham’s rare BT23C-1 set for the Historic Leyburn Sprints

PHOTO: Sir Jack Brabham’s rare BT23C-1 set for the Historic Leyburn Sprints.

A RARE racing car built and raced by Sir Jack Brabham has been confirmed as a last-minute attraction at the 20th Historic Leyburn Sprints, which will celebrate the life of the late triple Formula 1 World Champion next weekend.

The 1967 BT23C-1 single-seater will appear in demonstration runs across the two-day time trials event, staged on the closed streets of the tiny Darling Downs town.

A near-record total of 230 historic, classic and performance cars spanning 90 years has been entered for the Sprints, which celebrate the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airfield outside the town.

The Brabham demonstration runs will be a tribute to Sir Jack, who competed – and won - at the airfield track in 1953, before he moved to England to become a famous driver and the world’s largest racing car constructor.

Sir Jack died at the age of 88 at his Gold Coast home on 19 May last year.

He had already won the third of his championships when he and partner Ron Tauranac built the 1.6 litre, Ford Cosworth-powered BT23C-1 for the Formula 2 category. It also was driven by another well-known Australian, Frank Gardner, before being sold to team owner Frank Williams for Piers Courage to drive.

New Zealander Graham McRae also drove it and the car was entered in the Tasman series in Australia and New Zealand and Temporada series in Argentina.

Sprints Race Director Mike Collins said he was delighted the event had secured the appearance of such a significant car as the Brabham, which has resided recently at the National Motor Racing Museum at Bathurst.

“This is a great piece of Australian racing history and we’re grateful to the car’s custodians for bringing it to Leyburn, which has its own place in history as a grand prix venue and a track where Jack in 1953 won a race in his Cooper-Bristol RedeX Special,” Collins said.

“The Brabham is just part of an extraordinary line-up at Leyburn this weekend. We’ll also see demonstration runs by the famous Mildren-Waggott 'Yellow Submarine' racer and 78-year-old Bo Seton in his ex-Bathurst Ford Capri, plus a fantastic range of competing cars from a 1925 Austin Brooklands to an Indianapolis roadster.

“Off track, the attractions include the Shannons Show n’ Shine display, a vintage caravan show and on Saturday night a sold-out Legends Dinner honouring Bo Seton, Paul Stokell, John French, David Harding, Jim Bertram, Brian Michelmore, Bruce Allison, Bob Holden and John English.

“It’s fitting that our 20th anniversary Sprints are shaping as one of the best events yet. We’re expecting more than 350 cars on and off-track, great racing from some truly top drivers and great weather – it’s a weekend not to miss.”

Competition starts at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. Adult entry costs $20 per day or $30 for the weekend, with accompanied children under 14 years admitted free.

The community-run Historic Leyburn Sprints are supported through Tourism and Events Queensland’s Regional Development Program as part of a growing calendar of events across the State, plus the Southern Downs Regional Council.



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