Harold Primat is a French-born Swiss racing driver who was active from the late 1990s until his retirement in 2015, spending most of his career in sports car competitions with GT cars or prototypes.
He competed eight times with LMP1 prototypes at 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing best in the sixth place in 2010 with Aston Martin factory team.
Primat attended racing schools in France and the UK
Harold Primat started his racing career in karting competitions and then attended several racing schools in France (Max Mygale, Winfield) or in the UK (Jim Russell). But, instead of continuing a career in Europe, his first formula racing competition was the US Formula Ford in 1999.
He finished twelfth in the points, the champion was Dan Wheldon, who later made a great career in the IndyCar Series. Primat spent one more season in the same competition, finishing 16th in the points.
Competing in single-seater championships until 2004
The next step in his career was the British Formula 3 Championship, in which he spent two seasons with Diamond Racing's Dallara-Honda. Scoring no wins or podiums, he was 12th in the points in 2001. A year later, his results were similar and he finishes eleventh in the championship.
In 2003, Primat joined Saulnier Racing in the inaugural season of the Formula 3 Euro Series. He was among drivers who scored no points in thirty races. Another season with Saulnier Racing followed in 2004 in the World Series Light. This time, Primat scored three podiums to finish sixth in the points.
Switching to endurance racing in 2005
During two seasons with Saulnier Racing, Primat also raced in the V de V Endurance series. He completely switched to sports car racing in 2005, competing with British team Rollcentre Racing in the Le Mans Endurance Series.
He also made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans with the team, sharing the #8 Dallara SP1-Nissan LMP1 prototype with Michael Krumm and Bobby Verdon-Roe. They retired after 133 laps. Outside Europe, Primat raced at Sebring 12 Hours with Kruse Motorsport, not finishing the race.
Two podiums in the 2006 Le Mans Series
In 2006, Primat started a season at Daytona 24 Hours, driving a Crawford-Pontiac for the Spirit of Daytona Racing and not finishing the race. In the Le Mans Series, he joined Swiss Spirit, the team operated by his former boss Serge Saulnier, to drive the #5 Courage LC70-Judd.
His partner was Marcel Fassler and their best result was the second place at Spa 1000 Kilometres. At Le Mans, they were joined by third co-driver Philipp Peter, not finishing the race. One more podium followed in season's finale at Jarama and Primat finished fifth in the final standings of the 2006 Le Mans Series.
Later in 2006, Primat joined Creation Autosportif in two races of the American Le Mans Series, finishing third at Laguna Seca and fourth at Petit Le Mans.
Two seasons with Pescarolo Sport
Primat joined Pescarolo Sport in 2007 to drive Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP1 prototype in the Le Mans Series. The best result for him and Christophe Tinseau was the third place at Spa. That year, Primat finally reached the finish line at Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing 13th overall and sixth in the LMP1 class. His co-drivers were Christophe Tinseau and Benoit Treluyer.
Primat stayed with Henri Pescarolo's team in 2008, scoring again one podium in the Le Mans Series. He was third at Monza 1000 Kilometres. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Primat reached the finish in the seventh place.
Aston Martin factory driver since 2009
In 2009, Harold Primat joined Aston Martin Racing in British manufacturer's return to top-class endurance racing. In the Le Mans Series, he was sharing Lola Aston Martin LMP1 prototype with Darren Turner, finishing fourth in the points. They were on a podium once, finishing second at Nurburgring.
At Le Mans 24h, Primat was joined by Peter Kox and Stuart Hall in the #009 car, retiring from the race after 252 laps. The highlight of the season was a victory at Okayama's round of the Asian Le Mans Series, together with Stefan Mucke.
Sixth place overall at 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours
In his second season with Aston Martin Racing, Primat recorded several podiums and his career-best result at Le Mans 24h. He was third at Sebring 12 Hours, second at Le Castellet 8 Hours and second at ALMS race at Long Beach.
At Circuit de la Sarthe, Primat and his co-drivers Stefan Mucke and Adrian Fernandez completed 365 laps and finished in the sixth place overall (fifth in LMP1 class), what remained Primat's best result in the world's greatest race.
In 2011, Primat's third and last season with Aston Martin Racing, his best result was a victory at Laguna Seca. At Le Mans, the new Aston Martin AMR-One proved to be unreliable with both cars stopping in the early phase of the race.
Driving for Rebellion in the inaugural FIA WEC season
In 2012, Primat joined Rebellion Racing for the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship. They had no chance in general classification against Audi and Toyota factory teams but they won LMP1 Trophy against other private teams.
Primat's full-time partner in the #13 Lola-Toyota was Andrea Bellichi. They were joined by Jeroen Bleekemolen at Le Mans, finishing 11th overall and seventh in the LMP1 class.
Racing with Phoenix Racing's Audi in 2013
Outside FIA WEC, Primat joined Phoenix Racing to drive Audi R8 LMS at Nurburgring's round of the Blancpain Endurance Series in September 2012.
Then, in 2013, he joined Phoenix Racing on a full-time basis to drive Audi in the Blancpain Endurance Series and other competitions. His most notable result was the fourth place at Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia and then fourth place at Spa 24 Hours.
Two last seasons with HTP Motorsport
For 2014, Primat joined HTP Motorsport to race in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. He started a season with a podium at Bathurst 12 Hour, finishing second together with Maxi Buhk and Thomas Jager. Later that year, Primat scored no podiums in the Blancpain Endurance Series and finished sixth in the points.
In 2015, Primat stayed with HTP Motorsport but the team changed a manufacturer, switching from Mercedes to Bentley. Primat spent a season at the wheel of the #84 Bentley Continental GT3, sharing a car with Vincent Abril and Mike Parisy. They finished just 20th in the points.
At the end of the season, Primat announced his retirement from racing, starting some new business challenges.
Photos: Harold Primat,