The Borg-Warner Trophy has returned back to the United States from Japan after its first-ever departure from the country. Tens of thousands of Japanese fans and stars from Honda’s motorsports family, including Jenson Button, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, were on hand as Takuma Sato was celebrated for his Indy 500 win during a two-week tour.
“It’s been an amazing two weeks with the Borg-Warner Trophy,” said Sato, who drew a large crowd at Motegi for the Honda Racing THANKS DAY event, which featured the trophy and some demonstration laps. “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.
“Having the Borg-Warner Trophy at my annual fan club meeting (over 800 fans in attendance) is an incredible feeling to share with everyone, unbelievable. A big thank you to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to help make the trip to Japan happen – thank you, I really, really appreciate it!”
The trophy’s trip included a visit to Mt. Fuji before heading to the BorgWarner plant in Nabari – a six-hour drive from Tokyo – where Sato was surprised with a conference room named in his honor.
Trophy handlers A.J. Fairbairn, manager of restoration services, and IMS Museum assistant curator Jason Vansickle traveled with the trophy to Japan and were responsible for packing and re-assembling for each appearance – not an easy task, since the trophy travels in three separate custom shipping cases that weigh close to 200 pounds each.
Members of Sato’s fan club were treated to a photo with the 500 champion and the trophy. At the end of the event, Sato replicated his Victory Lane celebration, wreath, milk bath and all.
“The people’s reaction to seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy in person was something I’ll never forget,” said Scott Gallett, BorgWarner vice president of marketing. “BorgWarner is proud to help support all Takuma’s and Honda’s celebration events and we would like to publicly thank Takuma for personally supporting our BorgWarner events. Takuma is a happy and humble champion for sure.”
Click on the thumbnails below for larger images from Japan.