Strong start expected at Bathurst 12 Hour in February. Blancpain Endurance Series and VLN forms bulk of the programme. Harold Primat is set to contest some of the world’s greatest GT events in 2014, beginning with the Bathurst 12 Hour on February 7-9, after joining ultra-successful Mercedes-Benz AMG squad HTP Motorsport.
The Swiss ace, who switched to the GT ranks full-time last season following a near-decade spent racing sports-prototypes, is looking forward to a packed schedule that comprises all five Blancpain Endurance Series rounds and selected VLN events, as well as February’s trip to Australia.
Each championship also features its own 24-hour classic, with the races at Spa and Nurburgring, as well as the early-season trip to Bathurst, earmarked as top priorities.
Achieving strong results in each of these blue riband events will require an exceptional team and strong co-drivers, and fortunately Harold can count on both ahead of his second appearance at Bathurst after finishing fourth in 2013. While this will be HTP Motorsport’s Mount Panorama debut, their recent endurance record – which includes winning last season’s 24 Hours of Spa and Blancpain Endurance Series drivers’ title – marks them out as one to watch.
Likewise defending Bathurst 12 Hour winner Thomas Jäger and 24 Hours of Spa victor Maximilian Buhk who, when combined with Primat’s experience of long-distance races, together form one of the most potent driver line-ups on this year’s grid.
While his team-mates for both the regular Blancpain Endurance Series and VLN rounds are still to be decided, HTP has confirmed that Primat will be joined by racing legend Bernd Schneider at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 23-27.
Harold first sampled the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 he will campaign in 2014 at Portimao last November and will have another opportunity to do so, this time with both team-mates present, at a pre-season test on January 24/25 before flying to Australia.
Harold Primat: “I spent 2013 competing against HTP and knew exactly how fast their Mercedes package could be, so was delighted when they contacted me at the end of last season. From our first meeting it was clear just how professional the team is, something that was further emphasised during our successful two-day test at Portimao. Plus, the opportunity to link up with quality, proven drivers made signing with them an obvious choice.
“The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 proved very successful last season and it’s good to see that the Balance of Performance regulations won’t be tweaked as a result. That gives me a lot of confidence ahead of Bathurst, which was won by a different Merc last season. Mount Panorama provides a real challenge and I’m excited to be heading back there. It’s the first of my grandee events this year and one that I’m particularly looking forward to. I have experience of the circuit, Thomas won there in 2013 and Max is no stranger to success in endurance events, so together all of the ingredients are in place to do well.”
Norbert Brueckner, HTP Motorsport Team Principal: “Harold was one of our top targets for 2014 so I’m delighted to have secured his services for the year ahead. He has vast experience of endurance racing and a year in GTs behind him too, which we saw as key to continuing HTP’s success. Part of that is his ability to remain fast and consistent without making mistakes over long stints, and in that regard he ticked all of the boxes.”