Feature interview: Harold Primat on Le Mans, GT and more



Harold Primat shot to the world’s attention when he joined Rollcentre for the 2005, 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying 13th.  It would be the start of a wonderful sportscar prototype career after competing in junior karting and open wheel formula.

His career saw him compete with Serge Sauliner’s Swiss Spirit squad in 2006 with the Courage LMP1 package.  He scored two podiums during the season at Spa and Jarama and also competed in two ALMS races with Creation Autosportif.

2007 saw him move to the all-conquering Pescarolo Sport who took 5 from 5 in the 2006 Le Mans Series.  That year saw Audi enter the fray in the Series so a podium was all that beckoned.  He remained with the team in 2008 where, at Le Mans he was 7th and what was impressive is that he along with Benoit Treluyer and Christophe Tinseau were the first petrol car home – in the age of massive diesel advantage.

In 2009 he joined Aston Martin in what would turn out to be a three year association with the British manufacturer.  It would see highs with wins at the Asian Le Mans Series at Okayama in 2009 and ALMS at Laguna Seca.  It would see lows of the AMR One disaster.

Following Aston Martin’s withdrawal from prototype racing in 2011, he joined Rebellion Racing in 2012.  Again in a petrol car against massive factory diesel competition, he would help his team take the LMP1 Trophy for Privateers in the World Endurance Championship beating out the likes of Strakka, JRM and OAK.

After that experience he switched to GT racing, realising that unless you’re with a manufacturer you have no chance of victory.  He joined Phoenix Audi in 2013 taking 4th at the Bathurst 12 Hours and 24 Hours of Spa.  He would achieve podiums in VLN races.

For 2014 he joined HTP Motorsport and their Mercedes team.  He started at Bathrust and it looked to have all gone wrong with a big crash in qualifying.  Following masterful repairs – calling in the assistance of local Bathurst fabricators, he along with Thomas Jager and Max Buhk took an unlikely second place, mere car lengths from victory.

As the Blancpain Endurance Series is about to get underway, we have brought you this interview to discuss his move to GT, we discuss his prototype career, his various moves, why he moved to GT racing and expectations for 2014.

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By Sam Tickell,  April 2014

Photos: as marked.  By Sam Tickell and press photos sourced via Harold Primat.com

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