Double Vision: Takuma Sato’s second face for the Borg-Warner Trophy

Takuma Sato Borg-Warner Trophy
Bruce Martin Photo

TRYON, N.C. – When Takuma Sato won his first Indianapolis 500 in 2017, he was able to celebrate in the bright lights of his hometown of Tokyo.

Sato celebrated his second Indy 500 win in 2020 under the marquee of the Tryon Theatre in a picturesque community located on the North Carolina/South Carolina state line.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver who won the 104th Indianapolis 500 on August 23 was in town for a sculpting session with famed sculptor William Behrends.

Once completed, Sato’s second face will be added to the Borg-Warner Trophy that celebrates every winning driver of the Indy 500.

Sato is the first multi-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 since Dario Franchitti won his third Indy 500 in 2012. The driver he had to beat that day was none other than Sato, who crashed in Turn 1 on the final lap of the race when he drove underneath Franchitti in an attempt to make the race-winning pass.

“The 2020 win for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, made up for 2012,” Sato told “Finally, I was able to do it, but it took eight years.”

By winning the Indy 500 two times since 2017, Sato has created a case of double vision for Behrends and BorgWarner, which has sponsored the Borg-Warner Trophy since 1935.

When Sato walked into Behrends’ studio on Oct. 7, and the life-size clay image of Sato’s head was revealed, the driver from Japan gleefully exclaimed, “It’s me again!”

Behrends began sculpting the faces for the Borg-Warner Trophy in 1990 when Arie Luyendyk won the first of his two Indy 500s.

Sato is the seventh different driver that has won the Indy 500 more than once during Behrends’ time with the trophy and the 20th who has multiple Indy 500 wins.

It’s up to Behrends to find subtle ways to make each face of the multiple winners appear different.

“With Helio Castroneves, it was difficult because he was young and it was consecutive years (2001 and 2002), so there wasn’t much noticeable difference in his face,” Behrends told “I did Takuma in 2017, and I have that life-size image that I did for him on the high shelf in my studio, but I haven’t even taken it down. I haven’t even looked at that and started this one as if I had never done him before.

“I have yet to take that one down and compare the two, but how different they are, it’s something I don’t know yet.”

Behrends, who also specializes in oversized statues ranging from former vice presidents Spiro Agnew, Al Gore and Dick Cheney to baseball greats such as Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants, is meticulous in his craft.

He looks for the finest details that represent the expression of his subject.

“Takuma just has a great face,” Behrends explained. “He has a face a sculptor loves because he has good, strong bone structure and a great smile. He smiles with his entire face. He’s a good image to do.

“Dario Franchitti had the buzz cut in 2007, but in 2010 and 2012, he looks similar. There were some differences. There are any number of ways I could do this image. I don’t think once I have done it, that it’s done. There are some differences. If I had to do the same person 10 times, I would hope I could find something different each time.

“There are any number of ways I can do these images. I just do it and then at the end, we’ll see if it shows a little bit different Takuma, if it shows four years that have lapsed.

“But Takuma just has a great face, a face that a sculptor loves. He has great bone structure and a great smile.”

(Bruce Martin)

Al Unser, Jr. was Behrends’ first duplicate face when he won the Indy 500 in 1992 for Galles Racing and 1994 for Team Penske.

Luyendyk was next with wins in 1990 and 1997, followed by Castroneves (2001, ’02 and ’09), Franchitti (2007, ’10 and ’12), Dan Wheldon (2005 and ’11), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000 and ’15) and Sato (2017, ’20).

“Arie had a lot of hair in 1990 and a more respectable hairdo in 1997,” Behrends said. “Arie has a good face, too. If you look at those two, I think they are very different, not just the hair, but his face and expression. He is a good example of how it can be the same person and different images.

“This is face No. 31 for me. Sometimes I look back at the faces and see how I evolved. It’s not purposely that I look back to see if I have evolved, but that is what I see. I look at the first one I did of Al Unser, Jr. and that was in the early 1990s.

“My goal is to have it recognizable from a distance so that when it’s in the museum, someone 10 feet away can recognize the driver. At this scale, you have to over-emphasize the expression of joy and the likeness. I think hopefully I’ve gotten better at that over the years.”

For a cook, not every meatloaf turns out the same. For a writer, each story has a different angle or ending.

An artist does not work on an assembly line, so each piece of work is slightly different from the last.

That is why BorgWarner does not use the same image for multiple Indy 500 winners.

“One of the questions I’ve been surprised to get quite a bit from people is, ‘Oh, since it’s only been three years since he last won, are you going to reuse the same face?’ ” said BorgWarner Director of Marketing and Public Relations Michelle Collins. “Just because it’s a repeat winner and it’s been a few years doesn’t mean we would pull from the same archives and stick the same face on there.

“They still deserve what we want to offer them in terms of having them visit with Will. And just in the matter of just a few years, there can be some significant changes to a face. Maybe a little bit more age or a different hairstyle. It’s very important for us to recognize that. It’s still very special. Just because it’s only been a few years doesn’t mean we wouldn’t offer that opportunity to them again.

“Also, because it is Takuma, we have a location in Japan where the colleagues are very excited. This dovetails to all of our locations, but it’s something very special to them.”

The face on the trophy is frozen in time. AJ Foyt’s 1961 image is the way Foyt appeared 59 years ago. Mario Andretti’s 1969 face is the way he looked 51 years ago.

Sato’s 2017 face is only four years old, and it will look a bit different than when his 2020 face is unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy sometime over the winter.

“We wouldn’t deprive them of that,” Collins said. “It’s well deserved. Even if it was a back-to-back situation, we would do the same thing. It’s a moment in time and they deserve that.”

Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020 has become the year of the facemask. Citizens worldwide and athletes have been forced to wear protective facemasks in public to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Was that under consideration for Sato’s second face on the Borg-Warner Trophy?

“That did come up,” Collins admitted. “We did talk about that. I can’t say that we didn’t. A few people brought it up, and we made the decision to not utilize that in the final face that was going to go on the trophy, only because I feel it covers up the look of their face and that is what we are trying to capture at that point in time.

“I’m sure even if we try to forget it, we will never forget 2020. Before the race, we put a checkered face mask on the guy on top of the trophy. That is something we could always play up and do with Takuma’s face this year.

“To me, I felt it was very important to capture the look and essence of his face right now and not cover it up.”

BorgWarner made that decision long before Behrends began crafting Sato’s face.

Good thing because the sculptor would have been against it.

“If there was, I didn’t know about it,” Behrends said. “I would have been against it because after this year I hope we can look back at this year and just forget about it. I wouldn’t want to do it because it would hide some of his best features – that wonderful smile and the real expressive part of his face would be hidden.

“I would have been against it.”

It was just four years ago that Sato got to visit Behrends at his home studio, nestled away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His return allowed the sculptor to see Sato’s face through a fresh set of eyes.

“Time has gone past and cosmetically, he will make some changes, but it’s also expression,” Sato said. “He wanted to build that from art from scratch. I understand Will from that and his philosophy. The two faces are similar, but slightly different expressions. That’s kind of fun. It’s a really, really impressive job.

“As an artist, he does an amazing job. It’s more of a soft smile than last time. It might be true because of the time, but both are extremely close to me.

“There is so much detail in Will’s work and that is very impressive. It’s a good thing, for his passion to make this art. Certainly, I’m happy. That is why you can see my face smiling.”

As a sculptor, Behrends is as meticulous with his artwork as an IndyCar driver must be to win the Indy 500.

“It’s perfection, wanting to make the most of it,” Sato explained. “What he is perfecting today is probably only going to reflect less than an inch of the face. But he does every, single detail because it is important for him to have the feeling of that. I respect that and I enjoy having this time with him together.”

The process begins the day after the Indy 500 when Behrends meets with the winning driver and a series of photos are taken for him to create the life-size clay head. The process takes several more important steps before it is eventually a base-relief sculpture cast in sterling silver the size of an egg.

That is the face that is attached to the Borg-Warner Trophy.

For 31 years, Behrends has become a part of Indianapolis 500 history as his work is immortalized on the Borg-Warner Trophy.

“That, I love,” Behrends said. “The fact that I have been able to do this, these many years and put my small mark on the trophy and the history of this race is a special feeling. It’s really a privilege for me and I’m really grateful to be a part of it.

“I feel very privileged.

“I’m the guy they want to see on Monday morning after the race.”

Facts about the Borg-Warner Trophy

  • Takuma Sato is the 31st Indianapolis 500 winning image William Behrends of Tryon, North Carolina has sculpted on the Borg-Warner Trophy dating back to Arie Luyendyk in 1990.
  • Sato (2020) will be the 107th image added to the Borg-Warner Trophy. Tony Kanaan was the 100th face on the trophy in 2013 and Sato was the 104th face after his first win at IMS in 2017.
  • To represent the 1924 Indy 500 the images of co-winners L.L. Corum and Joe Boyer appear on the Borg-Warner Trophy, Corum started the race and was replaced by Boyer on Lap 111.
  • To represent the 1941 Indy 500 the images of co-winners Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose appear on the Borg-Warner Trophy, Davis started the race and was replaced by Rose on Lap 72.
  • Behrends has sculpted 22 different winning drivers represent 31 wins in the Indy 500. Of the 22 drivers – Luyendyk (2), Unser Jr. (2), Montoya (2), Castroneves (3), Wheldon (2), Franchitti (3) and Sato (2) have more than one win during Behrend’s time creating the sterling silver images:
  1. Arie Luyendyk – 1990 and 1997
  2. Rick Mears – 1991
  3. Al Unser Jr. – 1992 and 1994
  4. Emerson Fittipaldi – 1993
  5. Jacques Villeneuve – 1995
  6. Buddy Lazier – 1996
  7. Eddie Cheever Jr. – 1998
  8. Kenny Brack – 1999
  9. Juan Pablo Montoya – 2000 and 2015
  10. Helio Castroneves – 2001, 2002 and 2009
  11. Gil de Ferran – 2003
  12. Buddy Rice – 2004
  13. Dan Wheldon – 2005 and 2011
  14. San Hornish Jr. – 2006
  15. Dario Franchitti – 2007, 2010 and 2012
  16. Scott Dixon – 2008
  17. Tony Kanaan – 2013
  18. Ryan Hunter-Reay – 2014
  19. Alexander Rossi – 2016
  20. Takuma Sato – 2017 and 2020
  21. Will Power – 2018
  22. Simon Pagenaud – 2019

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500

Takuma Sato Borg-Warner Trophy
Bruce Martin

IndyCar champion Will Power completes ‘Victory Lap’ at ceremony in Indianapolis

Will Power Victory Lap
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

INDIANAPOLIS – Will Power went on his “Victory Lap” last week to celebrate his second career championship as the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series champion.

It began with several media interviews in Monterey, California, the day after he won the championship with a third-place finish in the Sept. 11 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

From there, it was off to Los Angeles for more interviews and personal appearances that included a VIP Tour at the Petersen Automotive Museum, several appearances on SiriusXM and lunch at The Ivy, where the Team Penske IndyCar Series driver was treated to Wagyu Beef.

“It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” Power told

From L.A. back to Power’s North Carolina home, near Team Penske’s home base of Mooresville, there was one stop left on Sept. 17 — the Victory Lap Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, an invitation-only banquet where Power and his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew at Team Penske were honored for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

They didn’t even have to check into a hotel and spend another night on the road. Power and his team left on a Team Penske plane from the Statesville, N.C., airport at 4 p.m. ET Saturday to fly to Indianapolis. On arrival an hour later, a limo bus took the team to IMS.

Power led the 2022 season with five NTT P1 Awards for pole, earning the NTT P1 Award as the best qualifier of the season for the fifth time in his career. Power also made history with his 68th career pole, breaking the all-time mark held by the legendary Mario Andretti.

Power and Scott Dixon also became just two of only five drivers to complete every lap of every race in IndyCar Series history.

“What a year,” Power said as he was awarded his personal Astor Cup trophy (the second in his collection after the 2014 championship. “What a phenomenal year coming off one of my worst seasons personally. We came back with a vengeance.

“I want to thank Roger and Kathy Penske for everything they have done for me over the years. I wouldn’t be standing here and have the numbers I have without what Roger has done for me. I’m given a car every week that is capable of winning the pole, races, championships, and Indianapolis 500s. I’m so grateful for that.

“Also, to Greg Penske, you are there every week now at every event and I know we will be in good hands moving forward with the Penske Family.”

There are many on Power’s team and at home, that helped support Power throughout his career. None is bigger than Power’s wife, Liz, who told Power before the season that he would win the championship and break Andretti’s record.

“I must thank my wife. I’m so lucky to have a wife with that crystal ball that can tell me what is going to happen,” Power said. “I can’t think you enough, babe. I love you so much and you have been a big support to me my whole career. We’ve been together 17 years, and I’ve been in the series 17 years. She has been such a huge support to me. The mother of our child and she is a fantastic mother.

“She can’t tell the future. She just had faith in me.”

Liz Power’s premonition came true and that allowed Power and his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet team to celebrate Penske’s 17th IndyCar championship and 42nd title in the racing team’s history.

“The 12 crew this year, I’ve never had such a great group of guys,” Power said. “Trevor Lacasse (chief mechanic) is such a calm guy, but he does such a meticulous job on the preparation of the car. He is very, very good at keeping the whole crew happy. It feels as if there is no pressure on us. That’s a huge part in getting the most out of people. It was our first year together with you as a crew chief. What a great year to start our relationship.

“Dave Faustino (Power’s longtime engineer), we’ve worked together for 15 years. He’s almost like a wife to me, a partner … apart from sleeping together. We have a very good working relationship. Sorry Dave, I’m an awkward person and you are not.

“The things we have been through in our years together, it’s crazy that we continually improve and get better. We are standing on the podium after winning the championship and we are talking about the car, the race, and the tires. We weren’t talking about the championship.

“We never stop. The other boys were laughing at us, but I’m already thinking about next year.

“Ron Ruzewski (Team Penske IndyCar Managing Director and strategist) on the radio, always calm. He has actually made me a calm person. I rarely get upset on the radio anymore.”

Power also recognized the fans who helped boost attendance at many venues on the schedule this season as NBC Sports enjoyed its largest IndyCar audience yet.

“This series is growing,” Power said. “With open wheel racing now so popular because of Formula One, it’s really our time to push and put money behind it and go now and take IndyCar to another level because we have the best racing product in the world.

“I have to thank my teammates and (Team Penske president) Tim Cindric. I can’t tell you how hard we push each other. We are ultracompetitive and love each other and push each other hard, so thank you.”

Power won the championship by 16 points over hard-charging teammate Josef Newgarden, who finished second in the standings for the third year in a row.

“Overall, I’m filled with a lot of pride for our team and what we were able to do this year,” Newgarden said in his banquet address. “Any year that you step in the championship, you can easily see the challenges it presents everybody.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for the teams and drivers. To be a part of it, make it through it and for us at Team Penske, to topple it, is a very big deal. We’re all competitive.

“The tough thing about being in a championship fight, especially with teammates is we all want to be the best. That’s how it should be. We are competitive people and want to be the best. But it’s a team sport.

“Will, tremendous season, great, great job. I think the world of everybody on our team. It’s a big group. I’m so happy for all of you on the 12-car crew. There is so much we can take into next year.”

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was unable to attend the banquet because of the Goodwood Festival in England but sent congratulations to Power via a video message.

“I really want to congratulate Will Power,” Dixon said. “You drove a tremendous season this year. Even with some of the lows that you had, some of the mistakes with qualifying, you bounced back tremendously. I know how tough these championships are and to see you do it in the style that you did it in the last race of the season, massive congratulations.”

Power’s championship formula included one victory, nine podiums and 12 top-five finishes. Teammate Josef Newgarden was second in the championship with five wins but only six podiums.

Cindric saluted Power’s season in accepting the championship team owner award.

“Will, you took it to another level this year,” Cindric said. “You are the complete package. You completed every lap, had nine podiums, finished out of the top 10 just four times, broke Mario Andretti’s record, and you did it all without cussing at the officials on national TV.

“One complaint I do has is while most of us think you might be from another planet, you never told us your wife was a fortune teller.”

Cindric also honored the seasons of Penske drivers Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who won three times in his second full season (“You are one of only two full-time IndyCar drivers that has driven for us in the past 23 years that hasn’t won an Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. Your time is coming.”).

Kyle Moyer was named team manager of the year (his fifth time and Penske’s sixth). Pennzoil presented Lacasse with the chief mechanic of the year for the first time, the sixth time for Team Penske. The No. 12 crew also won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the most pit stop performance award points in 2022.

Power, Newgarden and McLaughlin delivered nine of Chevrolet’s series-leading 11 victories this season, helping Chevy win the Manufacturer Award for the seventh time since it returned to the series in 2012 and the first time since 2017. Jim Danahy, U.S. vice president, Competition Motorsports Engineering for Chevrolet, accepted the award on behalf of his team.

Christian Lundgaard was honored as the 2022 NTT IndyCar rookie of the year. Lundgaard, from Denmark, scored one podium, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s in the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He edged David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD by 18 points in the standings for first-year series drivers.

Christian Lundgaard (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

“It’s been a tough season and looking at how it panned out, we struggled so much at the beginning of the season and how we were able to turn it around means so much to me and the team,” Lundgaard said. “It’s the one thing that you only get one shot at. I’m happy to have it.

“Being the first Dane at the Indy 500 certainly helps. Competing here for me is quite important and also special. To win this award and to be here in future years means so much to me. I have a chance to compete for wins and championships.

“This team gave me this opportunity at this track one year ago. We came back and got redemption. We got our first podium here. This year was 40 years ago that Bobby Rahal won the same award. It’s pretty special to keep it among the team.”

Sweden’s Linus Lundqvist was honored as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion after a dominant season for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Lundqvist won a series-high five races in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry and clinched the Lights championship with a race to spare, ending with a 92-point advantage over Sting Ray Robb. HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing owners Henry and Daiva Malukas accepted the team championship.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lundqvist said. “It’s cool to see. We are starting to look to the future, and this might not be doing too bad. It’s been great. As most of you can guess with Henry and Daiva Malukas (team owners), it’s been an incredible journey. So much fun that we’ve had. To be on the grid this year was so much of a struggle for us. I didn’t even know I would be doing this until January.

“To be able to pull out the season that we had, I cannot thank this team enough. We will celebrate this for a long time. I’m so happy and proud about that.”

Outgoing IndyCar Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Geoffrey Billows also was honored as he is leaving that role while battling cancer.

“When I think of Dr. Billows, I think of two words,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “One is selfless and the other is tough. He’s gone through a lot these last couple of years, and he didn’t want anybody to know. He’s an amazing man, and we are very grateful for what you have done.”

Dr. Geoffrey Billows with IndyCar president Jay Frye (Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment)

Billows was presented with a framed checkered flag signed by all drivers in the series as well as other IndyCar officials and dignitaries.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Billows said. “This means so much for me to be part of this family for the past 30 years. I’ve been presented with opportunities I never thought I would ever have. I can’t tell you how much I love all of you guys and care for all of you guys.

“Thank you so much. I want to also thank my wife, Tammy, who has been a pillar of strength as I continue on this journey with cancer for the past two years as well. You will still see me as a consultant because I love this too much to quit altogether.”

When the evening concluded, Team Penske boarded a bus to the airport for the short return flight to Statesville. They were home by midnight.

Power’s Victory Lap was complete.

“The best thing about this is I get to sleep in my own bed tonight,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500