106th Face Unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy – 2019 Indianapolis 500 Winner Simon Pagenaud
PARIS, Aug. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — For the first time the Indianapolis 500 winner’s face on the legendary Borg-Warner Trophy was unveiled outside the United States. 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud’s likeness was unveiled in Paris, France, the country where 2019 winner Simon Pagenaud was born.
Pagenaud, the 103rd winner of the Indianapolis 500 race, is the 106th face to be permanently fixed to the trophy. Pagenaud was the 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion, has 14 career IndyCar Series race wins to date and is the fifth French-born driver to win the Indianapolis 500.
“The Borg-Warner Trophy is one of the greatest traditions in all of motorsports and represents the pinnacle of performance for open-wheel racing. It is our honor to unveil Simon’s image today,” said Fred Lissalde, President and CEO, BorgWarner Inc. “Simon has earned his right amongst an elite group of motorsports athletes. On behalf of BorgWarner and our 30,000 employees, congratulations to Simon for this outstanding achievement of dedication and perseverance.”
Creating a sterling silver three-dimensional likeness of Pagenaud’s face takes skill and talent. To design the image, sculptor William Behrends, who has been crafting faces which adorn the trophy since 1990, conducts a multi-phase process. That process starts the day after the race where a 360-degree series of headshots are taken of the winner. Next, an in-studio session takes place where Pagenaud poses while Behrends works on a full-scale clay model of his face to better capture Simon’s personality. The life-size clay model is then used as a three-dimensional reference for the creation of the smaller clay image, which is perfected in polysulfide rubber and plaster, among a series of other processes, to refine the face and capture even the smallest smile line, scar or forehead wrinkle. Eventually, the image is cast in wax, cleaned up and sent to a jeweler to transform the image from wax to sterling silver. Once that is complete, Behrends polishes, buffs and refines the image before affixing it to the Borg-Warner Trophy.
“For a race car driver, having your likeness live on forever is like a writer when they publish a book,” said Pagenaud. “It’s your book. It’s going to stay. That is why this race is so important. Your image, the way you looked when you won, is going to stay forever on that legendary trophy. It’s very special.”
Pagenaud’s face is the 106th face to be featured on the 110-pound sterling silver trophy. BorgWarner commissioned the creation of the iconic racing award in 1935 to honor winners of the Indianapolis 500. The first driver to be awarded the trophy was Louis Meyer, who in 1936 was presented with the trophy featuring the previous 24 winner’s faces. The trophy is an integral part of the annual Indianapolis 500 tradition. Drivers from 21 U.S. states and 12 countries are represented on the trophy.
The permanent home of the 5 feet, 4-3/4 inches tall trophy is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, located within the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Drivers receive a keepsake trophy, the BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy® (also known as the “Baby Borg”), a miniature replica of the famous trophy, with an exact copy of their sterling silver image mounted to it. BorgWarner will present Pagenaud with his Baby Borg later this year.
In addition to the driver receiving a miniature replica of the Borg-Warner Trophy, the team owner also receives a mini replica of the trophy, the BorgWarner Championship Team Owner’s Trophy®. 2019 is a historic year for this trophy, as Roger Penske’s Team Penske adds to his already record-setting number of Indianapolis 500 team wins, with Penske earning his 18th BorgWarner Championship Team Owner’s trophy in 2019.