24H of Spa-Francorchamps, 2015. Tens of thousands of BHPs are screaming out loud, galloping furiously on the Eau Rouge corner like a herd of enraged lions. Fighting against the legendary belgian rain, one car growls like no others : the BMW Z4 GT3 number 9, driven by Zanardi, Glock and Spengler.
Source : BMW
With a cockpit specially modified so Alex Zanardi can drive as efficiently as his mates, this car is an 'Art Strip' one : Michel Vaillant left his mark, and a gigantic 'VROOAAAW' shouts on the flanks of the Z4.
And if you look closer, you see a very peculiar paint job on the bonnet : on top of the very same car, flashing through the very same Eau Rouge corner, the three drivers are here. Not in photo, but like three caracters of the comic book, drawn by Marc Bourgne, the artist who gives life to the characters of the new Michel Vaillant series.
Flashback a few weeks before : I've been told that BMW and Roal Motorsport would like to put a very special Z4 on the grid. So, with the help of the Michel Vaillant team, I do this.
Colors by Lerolle © Graton / Bourgne / Benéteau
The car didn't exist yet, but we had to imagine what she would look like, to put this very drawing on the actual car. Like a 'mise en abîme'. So, once the drawings made, the car had to be wrapped. This was the car before :
... wrapping up :
... and after, with the team ready to rumble.
© J-L Dauger
The pit put you in the mood too. Hard not to notice the noisy walls.
Even Timo Glock seems to hear the sound of the walls. © J-L Dauger
Now, the race. It'll be quick. I'd really like to tell you that the magic of the comic books would have blessed us with a heroïc race, but sadly, no. Zanardi, Glock and Spengler did a wonderful... 23 hours race. Yep, 23, not 24. The car, miraculously intact after nearly half a thousand laps, survival of the night and crappy weather, decided to break down just one damn hour before the checkered flag.
But maybe this was a good thing, who knows what can happen in one hour, in an endurance race, on one of the hardest tracks in the world. This very car survived 23 harsh hours without a scratch. Now, she gained the right to rest, reigning on the Brand Store BMW George V, in Paris.
© The Automobilist