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

Photo: Dan R. Boyd
0 Comments

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.

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
0 Comments

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”