To further prepare for the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi Sport will compete at Paul Ricard in April with the latest spec Audi R15 TDI, it has been announced.

Originally, the diesel racing sports car that is internally designated as "R15 plus" was to make its racing debut at the 1000-kilometre race at Spa-Francorchamps in May.

However, to complement these plans, Audi also now wants to use the season opener of the 2010 Le Mans Series on the high-speed circuit at Le Castellet to test the "R15 plus" in racing conditions.

"We're on schedule with the additional developments we're making on the R15 TDI and so this race should be possible," explained Head of Audi-Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

"Le Castellet is a race track that lends itself pretty well to testing for Le Mans, and we've frequently used this circuit for our Le Mans preparation. The 8-hour race distance makes the race of further interest to us."

Purely for logistical reasons, Audi Sport Team Joest has now registered for the 2010 Le Mans Series too.

"But this should not at all be interpreted to mean that we will be contesting all five LMS races," added Dr. Ullrich. "At the moment, we are only planning to race at Le Castellet, Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone."

The 1000-kilometre race at Silverstone on September 12 will mark the finale of the 2010 Le Mans Series and simultaneously kicks off the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup, which Audi Sport Team Joest will tackle with two R15 TDI cars.