Kyle Krisiloff wanted to make the podium celebration pop at the 2017 IndyCar Grand Prix. So he turned to the one-of-a-kind work of New York artist Jojo Anavim.
The senior director of music and entertainment at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Krisiloff knows the Indy 500 is the speedway’s main event. But that doesn’t mean he can’t try to create more buzz around the Grand Prix.
“We’re always looking for ways to make the Grand Prix memorable,” Krisiloff says.
Krisiloff commissioned Anavim to create designs for the 3-liter French champagne bottles awarded to the race’s first-, second-, and third-place finishers. Each one features the U.S. flag, the IMS and IndyCar Grand Prix logos, and numerous other images. Gold metallic paint drips from the top of the winner’s bottle, silver and bronze from the others.
“If you looked at it 10 times, you’ll see something new,” says Anavim, whose work is inspired in part by Andy Warhol. “It’s old meets new.”
A portrait of former speedway owner Tony Hulman holds a prominent place on each bottle. The businessman from Terre Haute bought the racetrack in 1945, and Anavim used his design to tell the story of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the mid-1900s to the present.
“It’s an icon,” Anavim says. “It’s an American icon.”
The artist’s creations come from a long-time obsession with the consumer-driven culture the United States is well-known for, so it’s no surprise he agreed to complete the pieces the instant Krisiloff pitched the idea.
This is the first time champagne bottles have specially designed in the four-year history of the Grand Prix. Krisiloff’s goal is for the bottles to become an extension of the trophies drivers and fans traditionally see after races. He anticipates that all the drivers will take notice of the distinctive pieces, even the ones who have become used to enjoying champagne on the podium.
“This is something I hadn’t seen done in the NASCAR, IndyCar, or Formula One worlds,” Krisiloff says.
He thinks Anavim’s vision for the bottles can be the start of an effort to make up for a lack of art pieces at the track that commemorate its history. Anavim expects the bottles, once the drivers have opened them and the fans have watched the celebration, to become pieces of history.
Driver Simon Pagenaud, who won the race last year with Team Penske and in 2014 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, says if he reaches the podium as planned, there’s no way he wouldn’t notice the bottles’ design. Not only does he want to know what he’s drinking, but he said he and the other drivers usually talk about whether or not the champagne and trophy are cool or lame. Pagenaud thinks using Anavim’s design shows the Grand Prix is really trying to make its awards stand out.
“I’ve never seen a champagne bottle like this,” he says.