There’s no time to waste as the Silver Arrow driven by Jackie Ickx comes in for a pit stop. The Mercedes-Benz racing team goes to work, everything is running to plan. The men in silvery-gray overalls check the final details and the C 291 Group C racer is ready to rejoin the action out on the track.
These are classic scenes from Jean Graton’s Michael Vaillant series. In his comics, the illustrator sent racing cars like the C 291 (featured in the story “Une histoire de fous”) and the McLaren Mercedes Formula One car (in “Le sponsor”) onto the world’s greatest race-tracks alongside his fictional marque “Vaillante”. Graton’s allegiance to the Stuttgart-based manufacturer ran beyond his passion for fiction into his private life back in reality. The comic-artist’s favorite seat was at the wheel of SL sports cars and he even successfully defended his Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC against armed car thieves back in the 1990s.
As well as starring in races on legendary asphalt circuits, Mercedes-Benz extended its motorsport history in comics into rally racing. Illustrators like Marc Wasterlain (in the Monika Morell story “Quatre X Quatre” and Graton (in the Michel Vaillant adventures “Cairo” and “Paris-Dakar”) sent rally-trim G-Class and M-Class, Unimog and Actros models on the rough road to victory over the pages of their comics.