INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 2017 Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato’s unveiled his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
“This is unbelievable. Sculptor Will did such an outstanding job and this is like a must piece, of course. I’m really happy and he’s even happier, so this is a wonderful moment,” Sato said as he pointed to his face on the famed trophy.
Sato’s sterling-silver likeness was created by William Behrends. He’s sculpted the faces of 28 Indy 500 race winners, everyone since Arie Luyendyk in 1990.
“Will looked at a couple of pictures, then made a life-size head, so that was fantastic,” said Sato. “I went to North Carolina to his workshop and we went through all of the details. He did an incredible job shrinking it down for the trophy. It looks like me, so I’m very, very happy.”
Sato is the 104th face added to racing’s biggest prize. He became the first Japanese driver to win the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” when he beat Helio Castroneves to the checkered flag by .2011 of a second to deny the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 win.
Sato was on hand at 16th and Georgetown on Sunday when pilot Yoshihide Muroya made more history for Japan winning the Red Bull Air race at IMS, capturing the season championship.
“This weekend was special for Japan,” Sato said. “But back in May, I won this incredible Indy 500 and it’s still dragging on all the time and it will be forever. It’s a page in history and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
After winning the 500 for Andretti Autosport, the 40-year-old is changing teams next season. He’ll be teammates with Graham Rahal at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“I am very excited. I can’t thank Michael and the entire Andretti Autosport enough for making this happen,” said Sato. “But Bobby’s been a big supporter of mine and he gave me a great opportunity with Graham. I think IndyCar will have an exciting year, because we have a new package. I think the series will be even more competitive, so we have a big challenge.”
The 2018 IndyCar season begins March 11th in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.