INDIANAPOLIS – The Lombardi Trophy. The Lord Stanley Cup. The Borg-Warner Trophy. Those are all iconic sports trophies. Well, for the racing version, it will be making a special trip this week.
For the first time in 82 years, the Borg-Warner Trophy will be traveling outside of the United States. The trophy that honors the champion of the Indianapolis 500 will be going overseas as Takuma Sato and Honda will be showcasing the legendary trophy.
Sato, became the first Japanese winner in the 101 year history of the prestigious race. Now, he’s taking it to his homeland.
The trophy will leave Detroit on Tuesday and begin a 15 day quest to Asia, including stops in Tokyo and Nabari (Borg-Warner plant).
The Borg-Warner Trophy will cover approximately 12,780 miles – roughly 25.5 times the distance of the Indianapolis 500 – during its journey, which will end when it returns to the IMS Museum on Dec. 12. The distance of the trip also just exceeds the record career Indianapolis 500 mileage total set by four-time winner A.J. Foyt, who covered 12,272.5 miles at Indianapolis during his 35 starts from 1958-92.
Winning the Indianapolis 500 comes with the honor of having one’s face sculpted onto the world-famous trophy. Separate squares are affixed to its sterling-silver body, on which each winner’s face, name and winning year are permanently etched.
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.
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.