Audi is expecting changes to the LMP1 regulations over the winter will create close competition between itself and main rivals Toyota and Porsche during the 2014 World Endurance Championship.

With Porsche returning to the highest level of sportscar competition in 2014, Audi will face stern competition from two major rivals for both the championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Coupled to new regulations, which include a 30 per cent energy level reduction per lap, designed to equalise the competition, Audi admits it is wary about how its new R18 e-tron will stack up against its rivals, but is anticipated a close fight nonetheless.

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"The spectators can look forward to a great season opener," said Audi technical director Ralf Juttner. "Following their assembly in Ingolstadt, our cars have completed all the roll-outs and functional tests and were also on track in the WEC Prologue at Le Castellet, where they met with our previous challenger Toyota and, for the first time, with Porsche.

"The way the new regulations have been designed will result in a very close range of the times set by all the manufacturers. The regulations now coming into effect are new for all of us. This will be very exciting."

For the first time this season, consumption data is made available to the stewards of the meeting via telemetry in real time. Violations of the regulations result in penalties. All new procedures have to prove their worth in racing conditions for the first time in the season opener.

Audi will enter two LMP1 cars this season with Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval and newcomer Lucas di Grassi in one car, with Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer in the other.