Will + Will = A Borg

Will Behrends (L) & Will Power (R). [Paul Gohde Photo]

Will Behrends & Will Power. [Paul Gohde Photo]

by Paul Gohde

Indianapolis, IN – It takes about three hours of racing for a driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and cradle the Borg Warner trophy, but many months of work are required afterward to produce the winner’s likeness on that iconic symbol; just ask driver Will Power and trophy engraver Will Behrends.

The two Wills got together recently at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to unveil Power’s likeness on the famous award. Power, the 2018 winner of the Indianapolis 500 became the 105th driver/mechanic to be depicted on the Borg, while for Behrends, it was his 29th time trying to catch the small details of a drivers face and character in a small silver engraving.

“I was really surprised by the amount of work and detail that goes into crafting each of the faces on the BW trophy…the artistic process is incredible,” said Power, who should know something about that process after several detailed sittings in Behrends’ studio.

The ‘other’ Will spends months on a multi-phase process involving headshot photos and a full-scale clay model which is then scaled down to a smaller image. That piece is then perfected in rubber and plaster, which eventually captures even the smallest smile lines and forehead wrinkles. After months of work, the image is cast in wax and sent to a jeweler to change the image from wax into sterling silver. Buffing and polishing finish the likeness before it is finally attached to the trophy. “We do talk extensively with the driver during the process to make sure we’re doing it correctly,” he explained.

The unveiling of Power’s likeness on the trophy was held at a public gathering at the track’s museum during the same week that the Performance Racing Industries’ annual trade show was being held in downtown Indianapolis.

Power and Behrends were together again the next day during that PRI show for a Q/A session at the Borg Warner display and to let the gathered racing community get up close to the Borg award.

Power noted that he had made a recent trip to his native Australia where he met with local officials regarding a return of Indy car racing Down Under. He seemed positive for the chances that the return could take place sometime in the future.

When asked to comment on drivers he has worked with since starting his Borg Warner gig in 1990, Behrends noted that Emerson Fittipaldi had one suggestion after his second win in 1993. Having won for the first time in 1989, just before Behrends began his work, the Brazilian explained to Behrends that for his second Borg appearance he’d like his nose made just a little smaller. The engraver confirmed that he honored Emmo’s request.

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