Questions for Harold Primat
- With your vast experience of LMP1 and the Le Mans Series, do you think the rule change for 2009 will make the race series more exciting for the fans?
Well, I believe the change in the regulations will be good for racing fans and competitors alike. The biggest difference will be the alignment of diesel and petrol based cars. Petrol cars should now be able to compete at the same level as the diesels, which will make the racing more competitive and therefore more interesting to watch. As most people were aware this was not the case last year and was most evident at Le Mans. The difference in power was just too great. The racing in 2009 will now be more competitive and more exciting to watch, operating on a more honest and transparent playing field
- Every year before the season starts there is a lot of uncertainty for teams about how their new car will compare to the competition. The feeling seems to have been enhanced this year by the changes to the regulations. How do you think Aston Martin Racing will compare to its competitors?
I believe that the Aston Martin Racing engineers will design a great car and I am
sure we will catch our competitors quickly. Everyone is extremely focused on producing and running the best car possible, it’s great to be around a team so devoted to perfection.
- Comparatively the Aston Martin Racing team has completed less mileage than its competitors. Is this a concern and will it cause the team to slip behind in the development race?
Every team and driver would obviously prefer to start testing in November rather than in March. In our case this was just not possible, so we will maximise every mile completed in either testing or racing situations from here on in. I believe by the LMS race at Spa in mid-May our performance and consistency will have improved noticeably.
- What are your objectives for this season?
My objective is to give my very best to Aston Martin Racing both in and out of the car. With specific reference to Le Mans my priority is to work with my team mates and ensure the car finishes the race, my personal objective is to produce consistent and competitive stints in the car. It will obviously be hard to beat the likes of Audi and Peugeot, but hopefully we will be part of the fight. I finished 7th last year, so hopefully we can achieve better. For the Le Mans Series (LMS) my aim will be to score points at all the races, and be on the podium as often as possible. I would like to have a very consistent year as for a driver, consistency is everything.
- Looking at the results over recent years, it seems that only drivers driving for a manufacturer team have a consistent chance to win races. Did this play a factor in your choice to join Aston Martin Racing despite the team running in the GT1 class for the last four years?
My focus in racing is to win races and obviously I can’t think of a better place to achieve this than a manufacturer team. This year I believe I am with the most prestigious there is, Aston Martin Racing. I am very pleased to be part of this exciting programme!
- Some drivers claim they can judge the true colours of a new car the moment they drive it out of the pits. Are you looking forward to getting behind the wheel at the Paul Ricard test?
Yes, indeed, I am really forward to driving the new car. Your first drive in any race car is quite telling, you have an instant understanding of how the car is going to perform, but you need practice to build your own confidence. It will be great to be driving again after such a long winter. I also know that all motorsport fans will be keen to see the new Aston Martin prototype, especially as this year is the 50th anniversary of the Le Mans win in the DBR1. I am sure it will be both a great looking car and fast.
- How much track time will the car get before the first LMS race at Barcelona in order to eliminate any teething problems?
This is a question concerning the technical department more than me; if it were up to me I would spend as much time as possible in the car! There will be the Official Le Mans Series test at Paul Ricard where we will be running for two days. From then on it will be a race against time before Barcelona. Hopefully, we will do more.
- Every driver has a reason behind the design they chose for their helmet. What is the story behind your helmet design?
My helmet design represents a comic book character from the X-Men called Wolverine, X-Men are all individuals with special powers. Wolverine is known for being aggressive and never giving up a fight. I try to identify with him in the way I approach my racing. My American cousin would bring me copies of the comics whenever he came on his summer vacations when we were teenagers; the design just seems to have stuck.