Date of birth: 12th June 1975
Place of birth: Paris, France
Residence: Geneva, Switzerland
Born in France but raised in Switzerland since he was a child, Harold’s love affair with motorsport was sparked by racing Karts as a schoolboy, whilst he also attended the Max Mygale and Winfield Racing Schools in France and the Jim Russell Racing School in England.
His first outing in a competitive championship came in the USA racing Formula Ford 2000s before working his way through the single seater ranks by competing in British F3, F3 Euro Series and World Series Lights.
However, it was in endurance racing where Harold really found his niche. His first taste of the discipline came in the V de V French Endurance Championship with Saulnier Racing in 2003 when, on debut at Spa-Francorchamps before mechanical failure struck. After clinching several victories and finishing as vice-champion behind team mate Phillip Hottinguer in 2004, Harold developed a taste for sportscars.
In 2005 Primat was given the chance to make his top-line sportscar racing debut, proving to be immediately competitive by scoring an LMP2 podium for Kruse Motorsport in the American Le Mans Series’ (ALMS) round at Sebring. After also racing for Kruse at that season’s Spa round of the Le Mans Endurance Series, Harold switched to Rollcentre Racing in LMP1 for the remainder of the season, securing competitive finishes at Monza, Silverstone and Istanbul.
However, despite not being classified due to mechanical problems, a debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June proved to be the season’s highlight.
2006 saw Primat broaden his horizons still further with a debut appearance in the Daytona 24 Hours before returning to European endurance racing with Team Swiss Spirit under the guidance of Serge Saulnier for another successful season in the Le Mans Series. Podiums at Spa and Jarama earned Harold a share of fourth place in the drivers’ championship, although gearbox problems would scupper his second shot at Le Mans. The disappointment would be short-lived however with more success arriving on the other side of the Atlantic in the ALMS later that year thanks to a podium at Laguna Seca and fourth place at Petit Le Mans for the Creation Autosportif squad.
Harold’s strong season had impressed many and with firm offers on the table for the following year, that dream Le Mans podium looked to be creeping ever closer.
He was signed to drive alongside Christophe Tinseau for reigning LMS champions Pescarolo Sport in 2007. A podium at Spa and his first-ever finish at the Le Mans 24 Hours were just rewards for his efforts. Harold also enjoyed strong results in the American Le Mans Series rounds at Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca with the Creation Autosportif squad.
The beginning of 2008 saw Harold again sample Grand-Am machinery at Daytona. Engine problems would ultimately force his Pontiac Riley into retirement but any disappointment would be short-lived as another successful LMS campaign beckoned. Opting for a second year with Pescarolo Sport, Harold’s string of impressive performances heralded his best sportscar campaign to date with results that included an overall podium finish at Monza behind Peugeot and Audi factory entries.
Even more impressive however was what the man himself describes as the greatest achievement in his short career; a seventh place overall finish at Le Mans behind the six diesel-burning Audis and Peugeots in a result that also saw him crowned unofficial petrol-powered champion. His annual pilgrimage to the States to compete in the ALMS with Creation Autosportif after a long season also proved fruitful, and by the end of the year team personnel up and down the pit-lane were beginning to take notice.
In January 2009 Harold was confirmed as an Aston Martin Racing factory driver for the marque’s first foray into top-class endurance competition since 1989. Partnering Darren Turner, he finished fourth in the Le Mans Series standings thanks to the duo’s consistency, which included a second position at the Nurburgring. Harold was joined by Peter Kox and Stuart Hall for Le Mans where a water leak curtailed the #009 Lola-Aston Martin’s involvement after 252 laps. The highlight of the season was still to come however with victory alongside Stefan Mücke at the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series race at Okayama in late autumn.
2010 again saw Harold don the familiar blue and orange overalls of Aston Martin Racing for whom he recorded three podiums in the ALMS and LMS. Sixth place overall at Le Mans itself also represented his best finish at the French endurance classic to date.
A third season with AMR in 2011, this time alongside Turner and Mücke, produced two more rostrums – including an outright ALMS victory at Laguna Seca – for Primat and the ageing Lola-based coupe. Aston Martin’s new, open-top AMR-One proved unreliable however, prompting the team to withdraw from the LMP1 ranks at the end of the year.
That saw Primat move to privateer LMP1 outfit Rebellion Racing for the newly revived FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012. With Audi and Toyota’s factory entries winning all eight rounds between them, it was left to Rebellion to fight for the LMP1 Trophy against Strakka, JRM and OAK Racing. Two victories – at Silverstone and Shanghai – ensured Primat played his part in the Swiss outfit winning just that.
2013 brought with it a fresh challenge as Primat swapped sports-prototype for GT machinery as part of Phoenix Racing’s Blancpain Endurance Series, VLN and Bathurst 12 Hour driver roster. He would finish fourth at the blue riband 24 Hours of Spa in July racing alongside Oliver Jarvis and Christopher Hasse at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Harold continued to race in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2014 at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 with championship-wining squad, HTP Motorsport. As well as the 24 Hours of Spa, his schedule included two further blue riband endurance events: The Bathurst 12 Hour, where he missed out on victory by just half a second alongside Maximilian Buhk and Thomas Jaeger, and the Nurburgring 24 Hours. In his first year with the team Harold also finished sixth in the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup standings.
2015 saw the Swiss return to the prestigious 12-hour Bathurst race, where – with Bentley Motorsport’s full factory support – he sought to go one step further from his impressive second place a year before. In addition to his bid for more silverware at the Mount Panorama event, Primat continued his partnership with the renamed Bentley Team HTP outfit, who ran a works-supported Bentley Continental GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series, 24 Hours of Spa, Nurburgring 24 Hours and selected VLN races. In a season marred by wretched luck, Primat nevertheless demonstrated his true pace in the blue-riband races at Spa and the Nurburgring to secure two top-10 finishes in both gruelling encounters, with his fifth place in the Ardennes representing Bentley’s best ever finish at the legendary event.
After a long and successful career, Harold decided that the time was right to hang up his helmet at the end of 2015, shifting his focus to his family and other interests for 2016 and beyond. Harold is currently assisting in a product development programme for Tractive, an Austrian company specialising in tracking devices for dogs and cats.