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

Photo: Dan R. Boyd
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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.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.