Rebellion A completely fictitious title sponsor for Rebellion Racing
Among a number of major changes for the 2017 season at Rebellion Racing is the arrival of a brand-new, but totally fictitious, title sponsor.
What might be a household name for Francophone readers, particularly those in France and Belgium, needs a little more explaining for an international audience. Rebellion Racing, which competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship, partners with Vaillante for the 2017 season to compete under the Vaillante Rebellion banner. Yet Vaillante, which even appears on the team’s official FIA licence for the season, is a French company that exists only on the pages of the comic book albums published by Graton Editeur, featuring the equally fictitious French racing driver Michel Vaillant.
The Vaillant family, as well as the Vaillante company and its various activities, were the brainchild of Jean Graton and star in a number of motorsport themed comic books which have a loyal fan base. Michel Vaillant is probably the only fictional racing driver who has his own fan club and has even been the subject of a Luc Besson film, for which a Lola B98/10 LMP car was entered in the Le Mans 24 hours in Vaillante livery!
After five consecutive victories as a privateer LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Rebellion Racing switches focus this year to the new LMP2 category with a Vaillante liveried ORECA “07” chassis and a Gibson V8 engine.
A lucky number
The two Vaillante-Rebellion Racing cars bear the numbers 13 and 31. The former links the two names, since Rebellion has used the number 13 for a number of years in the LMP1 category and in one of the Michel Vaillant comic book albums (“Le 13 au Départ”, or “No. 13 on the grid”) the fictional driver dared to wear the number that all others feared. The new Rebellion album, scheduled for release on 2nd June this year, will see Michel Vaillant make a comeback to drive at the Le Mans 24 hours for the 13th time! Car number 13 will be driven by Matthias Beche, Nelson Piquet Jr and David Heinemeier Hansson. The team’s second car, number 31, will be driven by Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal. Rebellion Racing is also fielding a third ORECA “07” in the IMSA Championship in the USA, with Nick Heidfeld at the wheel, completing a driver line-up with some legendary surnames.
The title of the new comic book album by Graton Editeur has by no means been devised simply to shoe-horn in the name of the racing team. Starting on a sombre note, the story sees the Vaillant company being broken up after the unfortunate demise of the chief designer, leaving the family in turmoil and an air of rebellion in the air. Even the police in Geneva have a role to play as all is not what it may seem and Michel Vaillant focuses on victory at the Le Mans 24 hour race to turn around his fortunes.