Photo: Dan R. Boyd

Borg-Warner Trophy to visit Japan in first ever trip outside U.S.

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You know the saying “if only this and this could talk, oh the stories it could tell?”

The 82-year-old Borg-Warner Trophy no doubt, if it could talk, would have a wealth of stories to provide from all the winners and 104 faces that have graced it over the years. The trophy, awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500, has never before been outside the U.S.

That will change this week, with the trophy heading to Japan in honor of this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil winner, Takuma Sato. It will be present for a couple weeks.

Sato saw his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy revealed in October at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, in an earlier event than normal as part of his hectic travel schedule. But he was even more happy than normal when his face was revealed.

Now, Japan will be the first country outside the U.S. – not even Canada, Mexico, England or Italy – to witness the Borg-Warner Trophy. Incidentally, the sterling silver trophy stands 5 foot 4, 3/4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds – nearly identical to Sato’s proportions of 5 foot 4 and 117 pounds!

Photo: Dan R. Boyd

“BorgWarner is thrilled to be bringing the Borg-Warner Trophy to Japan to honor Takuma Sato the first Japanese driver to win the Indianapolis 500. It’s BorgWarner’s honor to help celebrate Honda’s 12th Indy 500 win and Takuma’s first “500” win in their home country,” said Scott D. Gallett, Vice President of Marketing, BorgWarner Inc.

“We are very proud to show the Borg-Warner Trophy to the people of Japan, race fans, media members and our employees. This historic and iconic trophy which weighs 110 pounds and stands over 5 feet tall represents the wonderful history and tradition of the Indianapolis 500 and it’s winners dating back the first “500” in 1911.”

Sato, who won this year’s race with Andretti Autosport and will shift to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in 2018, is thrilled to witness his home country get to see the trophy in full regalia.

“I think it is very special that the Borg-Warner Trophy is traveling to Japan,” he said. “The trophy represents winning the greatest race in the world and I am very proud to have won the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and have my image on the trophy. For nearly two weeks the trophy will be seen throughout Japan by fans and media. I am honored to be the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500 and extremely grateful the Borg-Warner Trophy will be traveling outside United States for the first time ever to celebrate my team’s and Honda’s accomplishments. Let’s do it again next year too!”

Photo: Dan R. Boyd

Here’s the preliminary itinerary for the Borg-Warner Trophy in Japan. More events could be added:

Borg-Warner Trophy Travels – 2017 Japan Tour

Tuesday, November 28th – Borg-Warner Trophy departs Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for Japan via van to Detroit, MI.  Then is flown from Detroit, MI to Minneapolis, MN to Tokyo, Japan on Delta Airlines.

Thursday, November 30th – Borg-Warner Trophy arrives in Japan. Haneda Airport, Tokyo.

Sunday, December 3rd – Honda Racing THANKS DAY with Takuma Sato – Twin Ring Motegi.  Motegi, Japan

Wednesday, December 6th – BorgWarner Plant visit with Takuma Sato – Nabari, Japan

Thursday, December 7th – NSK Warner Plant visit – Fukuroi, Japan

Friday, December 8th – Honda World Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan

Saturday, December 9th – Honda World Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan

Sunday, December 10th – Takuma Sato Fan Day – Tokyo, Japan

Monday, December 11th – Takuma Sato Award Event – Tokyo, Japan

Tuesday, December 12th – Borg-Warner Trophy departs Haneda Airport on Delta Airlines to Minneapolis, MN to Detroit, MI then is driven to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to complete trip.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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