WTCC welcomes Michel Vaillant to Portugal

Michel Vaillant and his Vaillante car are ready for their maiden appearance in the FIA World Touring Car Championship that is going to happen next week at the Autodromo Internacional de Algarve, in Portugal.

Eurosport

The comic book character created in the Fifties by French artist Jean Graton will be played by Alain Menu, whose Chevrolet Cruze car will be dressed up like a Vaillante.

“I’m happy and excited at the same time, because Michel Vaillant was a great part of my youth. When I was a kid and teenager I used to read all his comic books, several times, dreaming I would become a F1 driver. To be Michel Vaillant is something I never expected!” Menu said.

Part of the Chevrolet team will participate in making the comic scene real, as Chevrolet Motorsport Manager Eric Nève (who will play the role of Jean-Pierre Vaillant – Michel’s elder brother and Vaillante’s head of motorsport) explained: “We have been worked to change the whole look. The racing overall of Alain/Michel, the team’s uniforms, the livery of the car, the truck and the garage. There also other implications, as we will be visiting the Club Michel Vaillant in Brussels. The main reason why we do this is to promote the championship, because we know that comic books will stay in the shelves of people for the next generation to come.”

Jean Graton’s son Philippe, head of the Studio Graton will attend the WTCC event in Portugal to witness his own hero taking part for the first time in an actual race.

"The most amazing thing about Michel Vaillant is that he races somewhere between fiction and reality. His stories have always been so accurate and realistic, that professional drivers declared they wouldn't be surprised to see him actually appearing on a racetrack. Well, this is going to happen! Never had another comic strip described a world with such realism, nor inspired so many vocations of drivers, journalists, designers. The influence of Michel Vaillant on today's motorsport is undisputed, and this sympathetic event in Portugal it’s obviously a wink, but with a true and symbolic meaning," Philippe Graton commented.

The whole operation turns around the launch by Dupuis and Studio Graton of a new series of Michel Vaillant’s adventures that will kick off in November with an story set in the WTCC.

Philip Graton explained: “I wanted to give Michel Vaillant a new start. If he stays on top of Formula One, and Vaillante is the most successful manufacturer, where is the adventure? There are times, for a hero, to be challenged again, to be thrown back into the lion pit, to find himself alone and having to prove his value again. The WTCC is a perfect place for that as its drivers are among the best, but are no victims of the stardom. They are strong and tough, and the championship is about true racing, not celebrity and money. The WTCC cars don't look like spaceships, they are close to those you see on the road. This is the perfect place for Michel Vaillant to be tested again and understand if his love for racing is still intact!” 

For you to know:

Michel Vaillant is a fiction racing driver created by celebrated French Artist Jean Graton in 1957.

The Adventures of Michel Vaillant have been published worldwide in seventy comic books and a number of special issues that have been translated in fifteen different languages.

The Adventures of Michel Vaillant are produce by Studio Graton and published by Editions Dupuis.

In 55 years of “activity” Michel Vaillant was paid various homage, including a series of thirteen TV movies in 1967, the “Michel Vaillant – Need for Speed” movie directed by Luc Besson in 2003, his hand prints added to those of the real drivers in the sculpture erected at Le Mans to celebrate the multiple winners of the 24 Hour race, a street named after him in Brussels.

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