SiC-graphene nanosheets (GNSs) core-shell nanoparticles were incorporated into alumina matrix composites. The composites showed refined grain sizes, increased toughness and hardness. Ball-on-disk wear tests were conducted and the results demonstrated that the coefficient of friction was reduced by 29.4%, and the wear rate was reduced by 90.1% for the composite containing 5 vol % SiC and 1 vol % GNSs at 90 N in comparison to monolithic alumina. These results are superior to Al2O3-graphene composites documented in the literature. The microstructure and topography of the wear scars were examined to understand the wear behaviour. GNSs-rich tribofilms were observed on the wear scar. The contributing mechanism of the self-lubricating and wear-resistance performance was explored.