News & Multimedia

Sato Shines with Gratitude during Unveiling of Likeness on Borg-Warner Trophy

An anxious Takuma Sato leaned in, but that wasn’t close enough.

So he knelt for an even better view of his sterling-silver likeness on the 65-inch, 110-pound Borg-Warner Trophy when it was unveiled Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

“Wow,” said Sato, the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28. “That’s fantastic.”

The 104th likeness on the trophy met with his approval.

Sato repeated what he had told sculptor Will Behrends when examining a clay likeness during a visit to the artist’s workshop in Tryon, N.C.: “He’s actually a better guy.” It’s the 28th likeness Behrends has sculpted.

IMS President Doug Boles reminded that Sato defined himself as a great winner by “screaming at the top of his lungs” on the radio after winning the race in a duel with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske.

“I almost want to scream today,” Sato said, “because I’m so happy.”

The first Japanese driver to ever win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” couldn’t stop smiling during the ceremony, which has become an annual tradition for the historic race. The one time that grin disappeared was for a startled moment, when Sato, a 40-year-old Tokyo native, slightly bumped the trophy during the photo session.

Sato flashed a frightened facial expression, then collected himself. He and the trophy were just fine. The smile returned, cameras started clicking again, and Sato eventually took selfie pictures of himself with the trophy.

Dapperly dressed in a black suit and tie with his black shoes buffed to a spiffy shine, Sato wore a winner’s ring on each hand. Always polite, he did his best to search for the appropriate words to describe his gratitude.

“Wow,” he said, “That’s a special moment. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much everyone, first of all. Good afternoon.

“How long do we got today?”

Sato won the race while driving for Andretti Autosport but has since joined Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Boles suggested another IMS duel that didn’t work out for Sato endeared him to race fans. Sato drove for RLL in the 2012 Indy 500 and crashed on the last lap while trying to pass eventual winner Dario Franchitti in Turn 1.

“You laid it all on the line in Turn 1,” Boles said. “You were going to win that race or crash trying. I think our fans knew that. When you had an opportunity to win this year, the people stayed around, they were excited, and that was really because they know that you know how important it is to win the Indy 500.”

Scott Gallett, BorgWarner vice president of marketing, public relations & government affairs, agreed with Boles that Sato’s likeness is on “the best trophy in the world.”

The trophy has been appraised at $3.5 million, Gallett said.

“But we think it’s pretty much priceless,” he said.

The same could be said for Sato’s reaction and genuine appreciation for his likeness appearing on that trophy. He always dreamed of winning the race but never had any idea about the “impact and power” of winning an Indy 500.

“Today, I look at the face, and he’s just a happy man,” Sato said of his likeness, “as I am.”

2018 race: The 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is scheduled for Sunday, May 27. Fans can apply for tickets by visiting IMS.com.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Takuma Sato
 
Sato Shines with Gratitude during Unveiling of Likeness on Borg-Warner Trophy
Sato repeated what he had told sculptor Will Behrends when examining a clay likeness during a visit to the artist’s workshop in Tryon, N.C.: “He’s actually a better guy.” It’s the 28th likeness Behrends has sculpted.
Read More
Related Media
Core Sample
 
IMS Core Sample Showcases Layers of Racing History
The recent removal of three track cores from the famed 2.5-mile oval offered a visual trip back in time as Boles and track workers inspected the various surface levels, beginning at the bottom with the paving bricks originally laid in 1909.
Read More
Donald Davidson
 
Davidson Opens Window Into IMS Past During Special Q&A Session
He shies away from comparisons in popularity to some of the track’s legends, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson received a welcome reminder Thursday evening of the esteem with which he’s held by so many.
Read More
Legends Sale Announcement
 
Race Fans Can Start Holiday Shopping Engines, Get Great Deals Nov. 18 at IMS
Race fans can get a turbocharged start to their holiday shopping at the 2017 End of Season Sale on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with great deals available on a wide variety of IMS and INDYCAR apparel, collectibles and more.
Read More
Indy 500 Tickets On Sale Now
 
Month of May 2018 Tickets on Sale Now at IMS.com, IMS Ticket Office
Tickets for all Month of May events in 2018 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix and the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, are on sale now at IMS.com and the IMS Ticket Office.
Read More
2018 INDYCAR Aero Kit Test
 
New Aero Kit Test Sets Stage for Wild Indy 500 in 2018
James Hinchcliffe says he learns something every time he gets to get behind the wheel of his Verizon IndyCar Series car. Because of that, he’s been relishing his role as one of the two drivers tabbed by Honda to conduct manufacturer aero kit testing for the car that will debut in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Read More
Items 4 - 8 of 1,512
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