Sato unveils second image on Borg-Warner Trophy

Takuma Sato has unveiled his second likeness on the legendary Borg-Warner Trophy that bears the image of every Indianapolis 500 winner.

Sato unveils second image on Borg-Warner Trophy
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Photo by: Dan R. Boyd / Motorsport Images

Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda’s Takuma Sato won the 104th running of the Indy 500 after a tense duel with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in the closing stages of the race was cut short by a yellow flag, while the Japanese driver held off the long-time leader and 2008 winner.

 

Photo by: Dan R. Boyd / Motorsport Images

For both Sato and RLL it was a second win in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing but their first together. The team co-owned by Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan triumphed with Buddy Rice in 2004, while Sato won for Andretti Autosport in 2017.

Sato is one of just 20 drivers to win the race at least twice in its 104 editions.

The Borg-Warner Trophy unveiling came 100 days before the scheduled 105th Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend. Joining Sato in person in the ceremony were Rahal and Lanigan, BorgWarner global director of marketing and PR Michelle Collins and IMS president Doug Boles.

Both Letterman and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita saluted Sato via video messages.

Sato’s image was created by sculptor William Behrends, who has crafted the sterling silver, bas relief images of all winners for the trophy since 1990.

“I am thrilled to once again have my face become a permanent fixture on the Borg-Warner Trophy,” Sato said. “William’s work is extraordinary, and it is amazing how much detail he can fit into the sterling silver sculptures.

“The effort he puts into making each individual winners’ personality and character is quite special, and it was an honor to experience this thorough and remarkable process once again.”

Michelle Collins, global director of BorgWarner Inc. and Takuma Sato.

Michelle Collins, global director of BorgWarner Inc. and Takuma Sato.

Photo by: Dan R. Boyd / Motorsport Images

Commissioned in 1935, the sterling silver trophy stands more than 5ft 4in tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds, honoring every winner since 1911 with their sculpted faces affixed to the iconic trophy.

The life-size clay image is used as a reference when Behrends works on the smaller model, which is created out of a mixture of oil-based clays. The clay model is eventually turned into a mold and then cast in wax, which is sent out to a jeweler to be transformed into sterling silver. Behrends ends his process by polishing and buffing the image before attaching it to the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“The Borg-Warner Trophy is a revered tradition of the motorsport community, and BorgWarner is pleased to carry on its incredible legacy,” said Frédéric Lissalde, president and CEO, BorgWarner Inc. “It is our honor to be a part of the unveiling of this year’s trophy, even more so following a tumultuous year that has taught us much about perseverance.

“Takuma’s hard work and dedication to his sport is outstanding, and on behalf of all of BorgWarner, we extend our congratulations to him for his second badge of honor on this trophy that represents the pinnacle of performance for open-wheel racing.”

Later this year, Sato will receive a BorgWarner Championship Driver's Trophy, also known as a “Baby Borg,” which is a miniature replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy that will feature a duplicate of his sterling silver image. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will also receive a memento commemorating the victory: the BorgWarner Championship Team Owner’s Trophy.

 

Photo by: Dan R. Boyd / Motorsport Images

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