Sato: Thrilled to have my face on Borg-Warner trophy again

Takuma Sato trophy Indy 500 winner

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato joined an elite club of drivers to have their image on the Borg-Warner Trophy at least twice, unveiling his likeness last Friday during an online event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Tokyo native Sato became the first Japanese driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2017 and repeated the feat last August while driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He is one of just 20 drivers to win the race at least twice in its 104 editions.

It also happens to be the crown jewel on the Indycar schedule.

Joining Sato in person in the ceremony were team co-owners Bobby Rahal and Mike Lanigan, BorgWarner Global Director of Marketing and Public Relations Michelle Collins and IMS President J. Douglas Boles.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan co-owner and late-night TV icon David Letterman and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita saluted Sato via video messages.

Sato’s image was created once again 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.”

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

Fans cheered Sato from their homes during the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23, 2020, as there was no spectator attendance at the race due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sato averaged 157.824 mph and led 27 of 200 laps.

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. (Source: Indycar)