Audi has confirmed that it will field a two-car entry into the new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup for the 2010 season.
The German manufacturer will field a brace of R15 TDIs in the new series, announced by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and comprising of races at Silverstone, Petit Le Mans and one of the Asian Le Mans Series events.
Team Joest will be responsible for running the cars, with a driver line-up yet to be announced.
As well as confirming its Intercontinental Cup plans, Audi has also confirmed that it will field three cars – entry permitting – into the Le Mans 24 Hours, with the three cars also competing in the Le Mans Series race at Spa as a warm-up to the French classic.
In order to be eligible for the Intercontinental Cup, Audi will also be required to compete in an additional race during the year, with regulations stating that teams must compete in five races run under the Le Mans label. The 24 Hours itself isn't included amongst the five.
Audi had scaled back its sportscar activities with the LMP1 R15 TDI this year due to the economic downturn, with the car only competing in three events, but Audi motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich admitted that the ACO's stance over alternative technology had ensured its commitment to racing in 2010.
"In 2001, at Le Mans, we used a TFSI engine for the first time that has since become standard in production vehicles," he said. "In 2006, we were the first automobile manufacturer in history to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel-powered vehicle.
“In the future we will use our LMP1 cars to test pioneering technologies and to underscore our 'Vorsprung durch Technik' claim also on the race track. Therefore, we welcome greatly the fact that the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has announced the first international racing series for LMP1 vehicles. We are convinced that this motorsport category, which is particularly attractive from the perspective of technology, has prospects for a great future and fits our times well."