Ericsson relives Indy glory after modeling for Borg-Warner Trophy

Marcus Ericsson was able to reboot his memories of victory in the 2022 Indianapolis 500, after posing for William Behrends, sculptor for the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy.

Ericsson relives Indy glory after modeling for Borg-Warner Trophy
Listen to this article

Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Swedish star, who turned 32 earlier this month, headed to Tryon, NC., to pose for Behrends who has sculpted the face of every winner since Arie Luyendyk in 1990. By peculiar coincidence, Behrends started work on Luyendyk’s visage in September of that year, the same month Ericsson was born, and this is his 33rd sculpting.

Ericsson joked that his girlfriend Iris Tritsaris “prefers the clay model of me to the real me” before going on to compliment Behrends on his work, and revel in the whole experience of winning the biggest race in the world.

 

Photo by: Steve Shunck

“It’s an amazing experience,” he told Motorsport.com. “Around the 500 there are so many cool traditions, and one of the very best is this, the sculpture, and the fact that your face goes on the Borg-Warner Trophy. It’s unique in the world of sport to have your face on the trophy; it’s pretty incredible.

“And now to be here and experience it, to sit with Will, is pretty special. He had worked on it from photographs, and then when I arrived he took notes and made small adjustments, but honestly, the base he’d made was already extremely good. I was very impressed when he unveiled it.

 

Photo by: Steve Shunck

“You never know, because it’s not every day you get someone making a sculpture of your face! It’s a bit hard to know what to expect, but yeah, I was very impressed.”

Ericsson, who was in IndyCar championship contention until the final round of the year and ultimately claimed sixth for the second straight year, said the title battle had prevented him from truly reveling in his triumph at the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500. Now, he said, he was beginning to savor it.

“Yeah, like you say, we had an intense season going, right after the 500,” he remarked. “I was in the thick of it, fighting for the championship all year, so it was a bit hard to sit back and reflect on what happened there in May – the fact that we won it and that I’m an Indy 500 champion forever. So I think it’s something where I will take some time and reflect on it and let it sink in.

“To come down here to North Carolina for this is a very cool way of going into the offseason and realizing what we achieved.”

BorgWarner Inc. is currently hoping to send the trophy with Ericsson to Sweden, and that prospect has the former Formula 1 driver very excited.

“That would be incredible and it’s actually looking likely to happen,” he said. “We will bring it to Stockholm, and my home town of Kumla [in Orebro], and then to pose with Ronnie Peterson’s statue [in Almby, also part of Orebro]. And the King of Sweden is a big fan of racing and IndyCar, and I think he may want to be involved, too. There could be a lot of cool things happening.”

Ericsson said that interest in IndyCar has been going up in Sweden every year since 2019, when he and compatriot Felix Rosenqvist joined the series.

Ericsson, Behrends

Ericsson, Behrends

Photo by: Steve Shunck

“Last year when I won two races, that spiked interest even more and this year it’s just gone really big. There’s been a lot of coverage around IndyCar and the 500. If we can get the Borg-Warner Trophy over to Sweden, it will get even bigger. It would be a win-win, great for the series, great for the Indy 500.”

Ericsson is expecting to be even more formidable in next year’s 500, with Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda likely to be one of the strongest teams in the field, even should rivals make gains, and now he himself having the confidence that he can know how to deliver.

“Yeah, I think what was cool was that going into the month, we had a plan and we executed that plan to perfection, pretty much,” he says. “We were running up front almost every session, we qualified up front, then we ran top five, top six for the first 150 laps. But the preparation on the car and the driving was just right, and that’s how we won the race.

“We knew how fast we were, we had the pace in hand through the early stints, but we were flying a bit under the radar, making sure we were there for the end. Then when we needed to go hard in the last 30 or 40 laps, we put the foot down [got around the two Arrow McLaren SP cars] and no one else had anything for us.

“So yeah, what we did and the way we did it gives me all the confidence. It’s so hard to win Indy once, but at least now we have the experience. The regulations are going to be similar if not identical next year, so there is no doubt that Ganassi and myself will be able to challenge for the win again.”

The modest Swede admits also that he believes the wait during the red flag period toward the end, after teammate Jimmie Johnson struck the wall, and his subsequent ability to repel Pato O’Ward’s attack in the final shootout had laid down a marker that he was mentally resilient.

Ericsson holds off O'Ward's last lap passing attempt.

Ericsson holds off O'Ward's last lap passing attempt.

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“It doesn’t get more intense and high pressure than restarting the 500 with two laps to go, knowing that you’re two laps from winning the biggest race in the world,” he said. “Waiting for the restart during the red flag, having all those thoughts trying to break into your head, doesn’t get much harder than that in the sporting world. So to handle that kind of pressure and execute a plan that I had formed in my head for the last two laps and how I wanted to do them…

“I was upset at the time when Jimmie crashed – it almost felt like I had to win the race two times! – but in the end, the way I won it, it was great. In those last two laps I had to use every single strength and experience and knowledge and skill that I’ve gathered in my career.

“It was very, very cool.”

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: Steve Shunck

shares
comments
Herta doesn't want to be "an exception" over F1 superlicence
Previous article

Herta doesn't want to be "an exception" over F1 superlicence

Next article

Power’s race engineer Faustino on winning a second IndyCar title

Power’s race engineer Faustino on winning a second IndyCar title
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021