Posted Oct 1st 2014 2:00PM
A lot has happened since Sir Jack Brabham went down in history as the the only driver ever to win the Formula One World Championship in his own car. His offspring have followed in his footsteps, with two of his sons (Geoff in 1993 and David in 2009) having won at Le Mans with Peugeot. Bernie Ecclestone used the team as a springboard to seize control of F1's commercial rights. The Brabham name was subsequently adopted by a BMW tuner. And finally, Sir Jack himself left this world this past May. But his family is fighting to regain control of their name and bring it back to the world stage.
The plan, being initiated by Sir Jack's youngest son David, is to relaunch the Brabham name in a number of international racing series. And to get there, the Brabhams are counting on public support. They've launched a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for racing activities, and in return for public contributions, promise to provide "unrivaled access" to the team's inner workings in an open-source racing platform.
The first step will be to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in the LMP2 class starting next season. It will need to raise £8 million ($14.5m) to get up and running and onto the grid, and is raising contributions in increments of £250,000 ($450k). In other words, participating in the initiative will be a bit more costly than funding a new fashion label or gadget startup, but promises to give backers more than a t-shirt or a new toy: funders will participate in the development of the car, vote on key team decisions, and take advantage of the new Brabham-Digital platform as either a fan, a driver or an engineer, following the team and its progress as if they were on the pit wall, in the cockpit or in the garage.
It's racing democratized, or so at least it promises, and we'll be looking forward to seeing the project materialize. After the initial stage in LMP2, Brabham hopes to participate in Formula E and other racing series and eventually make it back into F1 – the series where Sir Jack Brabham won three world championships himself and his team racked up two constructors' titles and four drivers' championships over the course of three decades on the grid.
Find out more in the video below, the project's website and its Indiegogo page.