Audi has released the first image of its new R15, which will replace the all conquering R10 for the 2009 sportscar season.

The car was due to make its public bow at Sebring ahead of its first race outing in the Sebring Twelve Hours, but Audi has now elected to release an official image of the machine after leaked pictures surfaced in the press from testing at Vallelunga.

The R15, which will be powered by a smaller, lighting TDi engine features a number of changes to the model it replaces with one of the main differences to the R10 being a radically different front-end, featuring a raised nose.

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The car also features a lower rear-end than the R10 and a revised rear wing to take into account changing regulations for the season ahead. The rear wing also features lights mounted in the end plates.

More images are expected to follow at Sebring when the car will be officially 'launched'.

Defending Le Mans winners 'Dindo' Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will share one car at Sebring, with 'young guns' Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller partnering Marco Werner in the other.