One of the real racing pilots featured in the Michel Vaillant albums, French driver Francois Cevert (25 February 1944) participated in the 1972 Race of the Century with a Vaillante Rush, alongside his co-pilot Michel Vaillant. He was the brother-in-law of Jean-Pierre Beltoise. He has been described as "a good friend of Michel".
Francois Cevert's short carreer ended when he died in a car crash while driving qualifications on the Watkins Glen racing track, on 6 October 1973. Subsequently, the editors of Michel Vaillant honoured him by naming a new car after him, the Vaillante Cevert.