Simon Pagenaud’s likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy was unveiled in Paris today, marking the first time ever that the Indianapolis 500 winner’s portrait has been revealed outside of the United States.
The 2019 Indy 500 winner’s face is the 106th to be permanently affixed to the trophy.
“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.”
The finished portrait is the culmination of a process that began the day after Pagenaud’s win, when sculptor William Behrends took a 360-degree series of headshots of the Frenchman. This was followed by an in-studio session, during which Pagenaud posed while Behrends created a full-scale clay model of his face.
This was used as a 3D reference for the creation of the smaller clay image, which was perfected in polysulfide rubber and plaster, among a series of other processes, to refine the face. Eventually, the image was cast in wax, cleaned up and sent to a jeweler to transform the image from wax to sterling silver. Once that is complete, Behrends polished, buffed and refined 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.”