Referred to during testing as Jeanne by Michel Vaillant and his team, the Vaillante Mirage is a high performance GT model which had its official debut at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show, although paparazzi had snapped pictures of the design long before that. In reality, Jean-Pierre used this car as a lightning rod to keep attention away from the real secret: a completely new product family from the Vaillante factories, of which the Mirage was but one member. The main innovation of this car was the holographic dashboard; a feature that was turned off at the moment that paparazzo Lans Hellman managed to get inside the prototype at a gas station in Frankfurt. One of the prototypes crashed when Hellman, cornered by Michel, decided that the only way to escape was to steal the car. A wild chase ensues over the Autobahn, resulting in the prototype crashing and Hellman sustaining minor injuries.
Testing and Presentation Edit
Speed test Edit
During the first test at the CERAM high-speed ring, the prototype was covered by a black Lamborghini frame with sensors and equipment protruding it. It is during this test that we are told a few initial specifications of the car at this point in time:
- A 0 - 300 km/h acceleration in under 30 seconds;
- A speed of 350 km/h at 4500 rpm;
- Reported top speed of at least 400 km/h;
- six gears.
Winter Test Edit
The winter test took place at an undisclosed location in Norway. Here, two Mirage prototypes were subjected to frigid temperatures of around -30°C. The tests were cut short by the emergence of a paparazzo, without revealing any useful information save for the first glimpse of the actual body.
Night and Heat Test Edit
For the night test, Team Vaillante travelled to the desert of Death Valley in the United States of America. This test was used to gauge the working of the night viewing systems, enabling the pilot to drive without the use of headlights. Purportedly, using the headlights enhances the view of the road even more by a factor 2. Due to the nature of this test and the complete darkness, this is one of the few moments no usable pictures were taken of the car by the paparazzi.
The heat test was meant to strain the air conditioning- and cooling systems of the car, as well as to measure the impact of heat on the overall design. This test was again cut short by the emergence of paparazzi, this time in a light-flyer who managed to snap shots of the rear-mounted Vaillante X-12 engine.
Open Road Test Edit
The last test would prove how the car would be handled during day-to-day operations. As a production model, it shouldn't just be for the champions, but for everyone who could afford it. Handling of the car on the regular road and traffic jams, its energy consumption and sound production are all tested, in this case by driving it to Frankfurt. It is mentioned here that the car is able to at least produce 700 break horse power. After the unintended driver, Lans Hellman, loses control of the vehicle on the German Autobahn it is launched up in the air several tens of meters. Vaillante construction proves to be of exceptionally high quality, as Hellman survives the rather brutal crash with only minor injuries.
Final Presentation Edit
At the presentation of the now product line at the Geneva Motor Show, Jean-Pierre shows the assorted press a completely new product family which the Mirage was part of. This GT car sports a 12-cylinder cross-placed engine, unibody carbon fibre construction, voice assisted sequential gears and the aforementioned night view windscreen with holographic dashboard. The 5.5 liter, 60 valve engine can hurl the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. The engine produces a maximum of 780 break horsepower at 7400 rpm.
- Album 64: Operation Mirage