News & Multimedia

Sato is Latest Champion Added to Illustrious History of Borg-Warner Trophy

When Takuma Sato’s likeness is unveiled Tuesday, Oct. 17 on the Borg-Warner Trophy, it will become the 104th face to be immortalized on one of the most coveted trophies in the world of sports.

The Borg-Warner Trophy pays tribute year-round to many of the most revered drivers in auto racing history, including 2017 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil winner Sato. It also becomes the focal point each May for the drivers attempting to qualify for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” a reminder of the glory and tradition associated with winning the world’s most prestigious auto race.

Sato will help to unveil his likeness on the trophy at 5 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, Oct. 17 in the IMS Museum. Admission to the IMS Museum is $10.

Winning the Indianapolis 500 comes with the honor of having one’s face sculpted onto the 81-year-old trophy. Separate squares are affixed to its sterling-silver body, on which each winner’s face, name and winning year are permanently etched.

Famed sculptor William Behrends has created each winner’s face in clay since Arie Luyendyk in 1990, a total of 28 likenesses. That final image is cast in a sterling-silver, bas-relief likeness the size of an egg and placed on the trophy.

The only likeness on the trophy not cast in sterling silver is a 24-karat gold portrait of Tony Hulman, who saved IMS when he purchased it in 1945. Hulman’s image was added in 1987. The Hulman-George family continues to own the Speedway today.

In 1935, the Borg-Warner Automotive Company (now called BorgWarner) commissioned designer Robert J. Hill and Spaulding-Gorham, Inc., of Chicago, to create the trophy at a cost of $10,000.

Unveiled at a 1936 dinner hosted by then-IMS owner Eddie Rickenbacker, the Borg-Warner Trophy was officially declared the prize for Indianapolis 500 winners. It was first presented that same year to champion Louis Meyer, who said, “Winning the Borg-Warner Trophy is like winning an Olympic medal.”

The trophy was refurbished in 1992 and is valued today at $3.5 million.

Every Indianapolis 500 winner’s face is immortalized on the trophy, all the way back to Ray Harroun, victor of the inaugural race in 1911. There also are two sets of dual victors’ faces on the trophy from the era when primary drivers often shared cars with relief drivers, L.L. Corum and Joe Boyer in 1924 and Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose in 1941.

Four-time champions A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) are the only drivers with their image on the trophy more than three times. Mears is the only one of that trio to have a new likeness rendered for each of his four victories.

1983 winner Tom Sneva is the only champion who appears on the trophy wearing eyeglasses, by his request.

The last driver to have his likeness placed on the original trophy was Bobby Rahal in 1986, as all the squares had been filled. A new base was added in 1987, and it was filled to capacity after Gil de Ferran’s victory in 2003. BorgWarner commissioned a new base for 2004, and it will not be filled to capacity until 2034.

Since 1988, an 18-inch tall replica of the trophy, a “Baby Borg,” has been crafted in sterling silver for presentation to the champion. BorgWarner expanded that new tradition starting in 1997 by also presenting the winning car owner with a “Baby Borg.”

Each May, the Borg-Warner Trophy is featured at a number of Indianapolis 500 events, including the public drivers’ meeting at the track, the IPL 500 Festival Parade and the post-race Victory Celebration. The trophy also is a centerpiece of Victory Circle celebrations after the race each year.

Borg-Warner Trophy Specifications

Trophy height without base: 52 inches (4 feet, 4 inches)
Trophy height with base: 64.75 inches (5 feet, 4.75 inches)
Trophy weight with base: Approximately 110 pounds
Trophy value: $3.5 million


Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Sato Borg Unveil
 
Sato is Latest Champion Added to Illustrious History of Borg-Warner Trophy
When Takuma Sato’s likeness is unveiled Tuesday, Oct. 17 on the Borg-Warner Trophy, it will become the 104th face to be immortalized on one of the most coveted trophies in the world of sports.
Read More
Related Media
Dan Gurney
 
IMS Statement on Passing of Dan Gurney
A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles on the death Sunday, Jan. 14 of legendary American race driver, team owner and car constructor Dan Gurney, who finished three times in the top three during his nine Indianapolis 500 starts from 1962-70. Gurney is one of only three drivers to win races in IndyCar, Formula One, NASCAR Cup and elite sports car competition, along with Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Read More
Gabby Chaves
 
Chaves Secures Full-Time Ride With Harding Racing for 2018 Season
The expectation was known around the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock last year, but Harding Racing made official today its commitment to run a full season with driver Gabby Chaves in 2018.
Read More
IMS Museum
 
Orfe Auto Racing Art Gallery on Display at IMS Museum Through March
For the first time since opening its new gallery in 2016, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will present a specially curated exhibition of auto racing art, highlighting the work of the late John Orfe.
Read More
IMS Pagoda
 
Five 2018 New Year's Resolutions for Every IMS Fan
Less than a week into 2018, how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?
Read More
Indianapolis 500
 
ABC Celebrates 54th Year of Indy 500 Broadcast
INDYCAR and its broadcast partners announced the 2018 television schedule today featuring an expanded use of in-car cameras to bring fans the thrilling action of the Verizon IndyCar Series from a variety of new angles in the upcoming 17-race season.
Read More
Items 2 - 6 of 1,541
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21