Colombian legend to add second image 15 years after his first
One month from today, on December 9th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Juan Pablo Montoya will see his second image on the world renowned Borg-Warner Trophy. The annual unveiling of the Indianapolis 500 winner’s image is all part of the events leading up to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2016.
Montoya not only made history with his second Indy 500 win which was Roger Penske’s 16th win as a team owner, but will also appear in the record books with the longest span between wins at the Brickyard – 15 years. Four-time winner A.J. Foyt held the previous mark with ten years between his third in 1967 and his record setting fourth in ’77.
Montoya’s image will be the 102nd face on the Borg-Warner Trophy, which first became part of the Indianapolis 500 tradition back in 1936. In addition to portraying every race winning driver’s face dating back to 1911 being affixed to the 5ft 4.75in, 110lb trophy valued at $3.5 million, both co-winners from 1924 and 1941 are represented, as is Tony Hulman who purchased the track in 1945 and owned it until his passing in 1977. He is represented as the only gold face.
Since 1989, William Behrends of Tryon, N.C., has sculpted the likenesses attached to the trophy. Behrends meets with the winning driver the day after the “500” to view him up close and personal and capture the driver’s personality and looks. He then works with photos to first complete the likeness out of clay.
In Montoya’s case however, the Colombian actually visited Behrends’ studio in early September for a two-hour sitting and was sculpted as a life size image before the image was refined to trophy size.
“It was amazing, wow, it looked just like me! It was like I was looking in a mirror, it was that good,” said Montoya. “It was three-dimensional and life size – kinda freaky-good, you know?”
Interestingly Behrends has used the same piece of clay to create the walnut-sized image each year – morphing Arie Luyendyk into Rick Mears, Mears into Al Unser Jr., Unser Jr. into Fittipaldi and so on, all the way through to Montoya in 2015.
After the face is initially made in clay, the image is refined in plaster and then wax before finally being cast in sterling silver. Two three-ounce sterling silver castings are made – one for the full sized Borg-Warner Trophy and one for the “Baby Borg” which Juan will receive in January as part of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
“I really enjoyed working on Juan’s second image,” said Behrends. “It was amazing how much energy and personality he had when he visited my studio. He has a wonderful, expressive face that truly lights up the room.
“And I really enjoyed for the first time ever making the Indy winner’s likeness full-size before creating it in a smaller scale. I think his energy and expression transferred very well. I hope Juan and everyone will like the final sterling silver image that will be put on the Borg-Warner Trophy.”