This year, Editions Graton, Motul and REBELLION Racing are joining forces to bring Michel Vaillant back to life for the Le Mans 24 Hours and throughout the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship. The three partners have come up with a highly original concept at the crossroads of fiction and reality to pay tribute to the most famous of all fictional racing drivers. For the first time in twenty years and to honour the occasion, a new cartoon album will be released on 2nd June; a living breathing Vaillante Rebellion team will be ready to race in two exclusive “Vaillante” on the circuits of the World Endurance Championship starting with the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
Michel Vaillant, the hero created by Jean Graton makes a long-awaited comeback to celebrate his 60th birthday. During the ACO press conference, which took place on 2nd February 2017 in Le Mans, Frédéric Lénart, managing director of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest revealed the cover of the 76th album in the Michel Vaillant series created in partnership with the international specialist manufacturer of high performance lubricants: Motul. Entitled Rébellion, its release is set for 2nd June 2017. An exceptional character and an exceptional concept! This year for the Le Mans 24 Hours, Michel Vaillant will step out of the pages of fiction into the real world thanks to Motul and REBELLION Racing, the Swiss stable. The Vaillante Rebellion team will be on the starting line of Le Mans in two exclusive “Vaillante”, an Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 powered by a Gibson V8 engine lubricated with Motul 300V 5W30 Power Racing, and decked out in the colours of Vaillant for the occasion. Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr. will wear the number 13 while Julien Canal, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna will wear the number 31. These talented racing drivers will have the honour of racing in the name of Michel Vaillant - an iconic fictional character with a big heart. «I’m happy and proud of being the pilot of a “Vaillante” at Le Mans 24 Hours and during the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship. It means a lot to me, Michel Vaillant is a legend in motor sports for French-speaking countries. We will do our best to defend Vaillante colours. » says Nicolas Prost.
10th year for REBELLION Racing, 13th for Michel Vaillant, 63rd for Motul… Le Mans holds no secrets for these three partners! In fact, this is where Michel Vaillant launched his cartoon career 60 years ago in the first album entitled “Le Grand Défi”. After 20 million albums sold, he is back with Rébellion.
«Michel Vaillant inspired generations of racing enthusiasts. Sixty years after his creation, the magic is still there. Thanks to our partners, Motul and REBELLION Racing, two key players in the world of motor racing, two Vaillante will be raring to go on the starting of line of Le Mans 24 Hours - fighting it out for a place on the podium! We are inviting all cartoon and Le Mans race lovers to make a date in their diaries to get behind the Vaillante Rebellion team. This is going to be the greatest birthday ever planned for a cartoon character», explains Philippe Graton, who, since 1994, has been writing the adventures of Michel Vaillant who was created by his father Jean Graton. «Motul and Michel Vaillant have had an affinity for several decades! In fact the Motul logo appeared in a several albums, notably “F3000”, which was released in 1989 and amateurs of Endurance will no doubt remember the “La Courage Vaillante”, which also featured the Motul colours in the classic 1997 Le Mans race where it earned a very respectable fourth place. Michel Vaillant hasn’t aged a bit in twenty years and we are delighted to be involved in his comeback at the Le Mans 24 Hours», added Hélène Zaugg, Head of Communication at the Motul Group.
The number 13 was not chosen by chance for the Vaillant Rebellion team! In fact, it is a highly symbolic number in the life of Michel Vaillant as well as the world of motor racing. It refers to the mythical album in the series entitled “Le 13 au Départ”. In this album, Michel Vaillant dares to wear the number everyone else fears. The new Rébellion album will feature Michel Vaillant taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 13th time. For many years, REBELLION Racing has worn the number 13 in the LMP1 category.
The FIA WEC Super Season is poised to start and REBELLION Racing has announced its partnership with the iconic British sports car manufacturer TVR. In September 2017, the brand – which is well known for its place in the history books of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – revealed its latest "Griffith" model. It is fitting for the brand to partner and work with REBELLION Racing for its return to Le Mans.
The REBELLION Racing team will engage two Oreca REBELLION R-13s in the World Endurance Championship with balanced and complementary crews. Both cars will be equipped with a Gibson engine and Michelin tires.