1960 Portuguese Grand Prix: Brabham’s Second Drivers’ World Championship

F1's return to Portugal after a two year break saw Jack Brabham clinch a second Drivers' World Championship.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 16, 2024

Reviewed and checked by Lee Parker

1960 Portuguese Grand Prix Jack Brabham's Second Drivers' World Championship

The 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix at the demanding yet picturesque Circuito da Boavista in Oporto witnessed Jack Brabham’s second Drivers’ World Championship, securing his status as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

An iconic street circuit in Portugal, renowned for its challenging layout, had not featured on the calendar since the 1958 Portuguese Grand Prix due to financial difficulties. Making its return in 1960, the race unfolded on the streets of Oporto to Brabham’s advantage.

1960 Drivers’ Championship on the line

The 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix took place on August 14, 1960. It was the eighth round out of ten in the season’s World Championship of Drivers but also the seventh round out of nine in the International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

Australian driver Jack Brabham, the founder of the Brabham racing team, had previously won the 1959 championship. However, his success was overshadowed by the resurgence and headline-grabbing Scuderia Ferrari team. For the 1960 season, Brabham joined the Cooper-Climax team as a driver and started the year strong in a fight to reclaim the title.

The 1960 Formula One season fielded a strong driver lineup. Among the contenders, Jack Brabham faced a fight for the championship from Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, and Innes Ireland. This quartet of drivers set the stage for a hard-fought season and one of the most closely contested in F1 history.

British driver Stirling Moss was determined to claim the championship that had eluded him in previous years. His return to the 1960 season promised an exciting season-long battle with peers such as Bruce McLaren, who was quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Another British driver, Innes Ireland, consistently challenged the leading pack, giving him an outside chance for the title.

As the championship reached the Portuguese Grand Prix, the title race remained close between Brabham and McLaren. Set against the challenging and dangerous Boavista street circuit backdrop, the race promised an exciting climax to the 1960 title race.

What happened in the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix?

Opening laps

The 1960 season had already seen the German Grand Prix cancelled due to concerns about the safety and quality of the track in Berlin which created a month-long gap between the British and Portuguese Grand Prix.

Stirling Moss, out of action since the disastrous Belgian Grand Prix in June, made a highly anticipated comeback in Portugal. And local hero Mario Cabral had found himself a drive in the second Cooper-Maserati, giving fans an added bonus for the race.

However, practice sessions were far from smooth. Henry Taylor had a heavy crash in his Cooper, which resulted in an arm injury. Even the typically faultless Jim Clark was not immune to the circuit’s dangers, as he suffered a rare crash that left his Lotus severely damaged.

Despite these incidents, pole had gone to John Surtees for Team Lotus in qualifying, who narrowly edged out Dan Gurney’s BRM by a few hundredths of a second. Jack Brabham, usually dominant in his works Cooper, secured third.

As the race started, Brabham took an early lead. However, Gurney quickly found an opportunity to overtake, while Brabham found himself dropping back to sixth. Stirling Moss emerged in second, having shared the second row on the grid with Graham Hill’s BRM. At the same time, a fierce battle began to play out between Surtees and Phil Hill in the Ferrari.

Mid-race battles

After ten laps, Gurney fell back down the order with an oil leak, with Surtees assuming the lead and Moss in hot pursuit. Unfortunately for Moss, he dropped to the back of the field after suffering spark plug issues. He was later disqualified after driving against the direction of the race while trying to get going again after a spin.

Meanwhile, Brabham was engaged in a duel with Phil Hill until Hill’s race ended with a crash. Brabham ultimately seized the lead on the 36th lap after Surtees went off track due to oil leaking onto his pedals.

Final laps

A combination of the successful Cooper-Climax and Brabham’s driving style saw both come home for the win, showcasing his ability to adapt to the tight, twisty street circuit.

With the win, Jack Brabham’ had secured the Drivers’ World Championship with two races remaining. The victory not only secured his second Drivers’ World Championship but also made him the first driver to win a World Championship in a car he had helped to design, the Cooper T53.

Bruce McLaren came home in second and secured another 1-2 for Cooper. Jim Clark managed to secure third in his hastily reconstructed Lotus.

However, this would be the last Portuguese Grand Prix for the next 24 years, as the race did not return to the F1 calender until 1984.

Jack Brabham’s second F1 Drivers’ World Championship

Jack Brabham’s victory at the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix solidified his status as a Formula One legend. Driving a car of his own design, he secured a second championship to go alongside the 1959 win and, with his input in and outside the car, also contributed to the overall success of the Cooper team. Brabham would go on to win his third and final Drivers’ World Championship in 1966.

1960 Portuguese Grand Prix Race Results

12Jack BrabhamCooper Climax552:19:00.0308
24Bruce McLarenCooper Climax55+57.970s6
314Jim ClarkLotus Climax55+113.230s4
428Wolfgang von TripsFerrari55+118.810s3
DQ12Stirling MossLotus Climax50DSQ0
56Tony BrooksCooper Climax49+6 laps2
616Innes IrelandLotus Climax48+7 laps1
78Olivier GendebienCooper Climax46+9 laps0
NC32Mario de Araujo CabralCooper Maserati37DNF0
NC18John SurteesLotus Climax36DNF0
NC26Phil HillFerrari29DNF0
NC24Dan GurneyBRM24DNF0
NC30Masten GregoryCooper Maserati21DNF0
NC22Graham HillBRM8DNF0
NC20Jo BonnierBRM6DNF0

1960 Post-Race F1 Championship Standings

1960 Post-Race F1 Drivers’ Championship Standings

1Jack Brabham40
2Bruce McLaren33
3Innes Ireland12
4Stirling Moss11
5Olivier Gendebien10
Only the top five positions are included

1960 Post-Race F1 Constructors’ Championship Standings

Only the top five positions are included

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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