All photos courtesy BorgWarner

Borg-Warner Trophy back home after Japan trip

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The Borg-Warner Trophy’s first, fabulous trip outside the United States – all the way to Japan for a two-week period – is over. But the memories are vivid as the winning trophy for the Indianapolis 500 enjoyed a whirlwind ride of events and enthusiasm thanks to BorgWarner and Honda.

Plans were hatched over the fall to see the Borg-Warner Trophy go to Japan to commemorate Takuma Sato’s victory in this year’s race. It arrived to great fanfare, and also took center stage at Honda Racing’s THANKS DAY held at Twin Ring Motegi.

Two key individuals were shepherds of the trophy while in Japan, as A.J. Fairbairn, Manager of Restoration Services and Jason Vansickle, Assistant Curator, IMS Museum, traveled with the trophy and unpacked and packed up the trophy at each stop throughout the trip. As the Borg-Warner Trophy travels in three separate custom shipping cases that weigh nearly 200 pounds each. these two ensured it remained shiny and bright at every opportunity and squeezed it through whatever size entrance was there.

At Honda World Headquarters, fans sought to take their picture not just with Sato’s face on the trophy, but some ventured to do so with nearly every face on the trophy!

Sato also organized a Fan Club meeting (more than 800 fans in attendance), personally meeting with every fan in attendance and providing signed hero cards. There and smiling for every picture, the eternally effervescent Sato embraced each fan with their gifts they brought. Sato was also particularly warm and welcoming to a handful of handicapped and special needs fan who couldn’t meet him on stage, as he took time to spend with them as well. To end the Fan Day, he redid victory celebration at Indianapolis, and poured a bottle of milk over his head.

Sato paid a visit to BorgWarner’s Nabari plant as well, which is six hours away from Tokyo. He unveiled a conference room named in his honor there in the town of 80,000, bringing an impressive surprise to that plant and town. This allowed the Borg-Warner Trophy to visit one of its homes on site.

“What a wonderful facility!  I would like to thank Kunihiko Mishima-san (General Manager of the BorgWarner plant in Nabari) and everyone at the plant for their wonderful reception and hospitality,” Sato said. “I was very impressed with the technology and R & D in the plant.

“BorgWarner is just not about turbochargers. It was wonderful to see the Borg-Warner Trophy again at the plant, it has been all over Japan in the last few days – I am so happy it is being shared with everyone!  Overall it was a wonderful trip and I again thank everyone for the congratulations and very warm welcome.”

Such was the nature of the trip that some fans doubled or tripled up on photos. There was a bevy of fans at either the Honda World Headquarters or the Takuma Sato Fan Day who had photos from Honda Racing THANKS DAY or Honda World Headquarters. A lot of fans did a “double” and at least a handful did the “triple” – THANKS DAY, Honda World Headquarters and Takuma Sato Fan Day.

The trophy went to Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji, as well.

As there were so many hundreds of fans who witnessed the trip, including the tens of thousands at Honda Racing’s THANKS DAY, capturing the reaction is important. But two fans who saw Sato come so close to winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500 on site, and then watched him win this year, are good to summarize it.

Taiko Hattori and her husband Masahito Mori live in Mito City, which is 30 minutes outside of Motegi. They both attended Honda Racing THANKS DAY, the event at the Tokyo Dome Hotel – Nippon Forum “All For 2017” Awards, Takuma Sato Fan Day and the final event – Car of Japan 2017-2018 Awards in Tokyo.

“After the 2012 Indy 500 we were lucky enough to visit Dario Franchitti on the Victory Podium to get our photo with him and the Borg-Warner Trophy between his TV interviews. Today seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy in Japan is very exciting. Thank you for bringing it here – I am grateful!” Hattori said.

Sato, the Borg-Warner Trophy, and BorgWarner’s Scott Gallett.

Both Sato and Scott Gallett, Vice President of Marketing BorgWarner, Inc., reflected on the incredible experience.

“If the faces on the Borg-Warner Trophy could talk they would shout, “Thank you Japan!”  Takuma Sato’s enthusiasm and the fan’s appreciation was over flowing during the entire trip.  The people’s reaction to seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy in person was something I’ll never forget,” Gallett said.

Sato added, “It’s been an amazing two weeks with the Borg-Warner Trophy. It’s special having so much support from the fans from east to west – it’s been a busy trip but such an incredible experience. I’d like to give the whole team a big “Thank You” and to everyone who has supported this special, once in a lifetime project – especially Honda and BorgWarner – without both of them, this would have been impossible.

“It’s all about appreciation. This is the reason I am standing here today – only because of everyone’s support. I feel really fortunate to receive this kind of support, very special. It was a really good year this year and equally I am looking forward to 2018. I get my Baby Borg to start the year in January so it will start in a memorable way, to which I am thankful!”

Needless to say there’s a lot of photos to capture the trip, some of which are above, and others are below (All photos courtesy BorgWarner).

Borg-Warner Trophy Travels in Japan!

Thursday, November 30 – Borg-Warner Trophy arrives in Japan and is transferred to Utsunomiya for storage before heading to Twin Ring Motegi for Honda Racing THANKS DAY.

Saturday, December 2 – Borg-Warner Trophy is transferred to Twin Ring Motegi.

Sunday, December 3 – Twin Ring Motegi, Honda Racing THANKS DAY, 7 am to 5 pm.

Monday, December 4 – Tokyo Dome Hotel, 6 pm. Nippon Forum “All For 2017” Awards – Takuma Sato and Japanese 100 meter sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu who was the first Japanese athlete to break 10.00 seconds in the 100 meter dash – 9.98 this summer.

Tuesday, December 5 – Mt. Fuji en route to Nabari, Japan

Wednesday, December 6 – BorgWarner plant in Nabari, Japan.

Employees view trophy from 8 am to 4 pm then at 2 pm Takuma Sato arrival. 3:30 to 4:00 pm Sato and media at the plant. Evening – 6 to 8 pm Takuma Sato speech at ADS Hall in Nabari for employees, their families, media and the community – approx. 500 in attendance.

Thursday, December 7 – NSK-Warner plant in Fukuroi, Japan.

They literally rolled out the “red carpet” for the viewing – 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Takuma was not in attendance.

Friday & Saturday, December 8 & 9 – Honda World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. On display 24 hours a day with Takuma Sato appearance for a magazine cover shoot on Friday. The trophy was lit at night so people could view it thru the front window!

Sunday, December 10 – Takuma Sato Fan Club Day – Yamano Beauty School – over 800 in attendance – 1 to 7:30 pm.

Monday, December 11 – Car of Japan 2017-2018 Awards in Tokyo, Japan

1 to 4 pm followed by Honda VIP reception. Japanese automotive journalists honored Takuma Sato.

Tuesday, December 12 – The Borg-Warner Trophy begins its trip back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. 6:30 am – Mini truck from Tokyo hotel to Narita Airport. Fly from Narita Airport to Detroit, MI. Cargo van from Detroit airport to IMS Museum.

Australia SuperCar Champion gets IndyCar Test at Team Penske

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Scott McLaughlin’s latest reward for winning the 2019 Virgin Australia SuperCar championship is an INDYCAR test at Team Penske.

“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” said team owner Roger Penske, who will become the owner of INDYCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 in early January. “He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”

McLaughlin, who has scored back-to-back Virgin Australia Supercars Champion for DJR Team Penske (DJRTP), will participate in an INDYCAR Rookie Evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. on Monday, January 13.

“I am always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an Indy car,” said McLaughlin, who established a new Supercars single season record with 18 victories this past season. “We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new. Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”

McLaughlin joined DJR Team Penske in 2017 as one of the brightest stars in Supercars. He has produced 35 victories and 44 pole positions over the last three seasons while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019, the driver’s title each of the last two seasons and the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in October, along with co-driver Alex Premat.

McLaughlin will defend his Supercars title for DJRTP in 2020 in the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang.  He will build on his already successful racing career by driving a full-sized open-wheel car for the first time.

Team Penske enjoyed another successful IndyCar Series season in 2019. The team earned its record 18th Indianapolis 500 victory as Simon Pagenaud captured the checkered flag in May, while Josef Newgarden won his second series title in three years and the team’s 16th INDYCAR Championship. Team Penske will once again compete with three full-season entries in 2020, featuring series champion drivers Newgarden, Pagenaud and Will Power.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 540 major race wins, over 620 pole positions and 37 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 53-year history, the team has also earned 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race. Team Penske currently competes in the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia SuperCars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500