Audi's quest for a 13th Le Mans 24 Hours win in 15 years gets underway this weekend with the first official test for the 2014 race around the La Sarthe circuit.
The German manufacturer comes into the 82nd edition of the iconic French race with history on its side having triumphed in 12 of the last 14 races, while it will also have the advantage of having three cars, unlike closest rivals Toyota and Porsche, which will persevere with a two-car entry.
However, with two comfortable wins from two in 2014, Toyota arguably head into this year's event as the cautious favourites. With this in mind, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is placing emphasis on this weekend's shakedown test.
“This makes it particularly important to use this valuable time systematically, efficiently and thoroughly prepared,” he said. “On June 1, we'll have eight hours of testing available for a very extensive program. Due to the new regulations even more factors than before have to be considered this year.
“In addition to the previously known set-up work, the tests will be about achieving the specified consumption targets on this track for the first time.”
The No.1 R18 e-tron Quattro will be driven by Tom Kristensen – who is eyeing a record 10th Le Mans win -, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval, the No.2 car is contested by Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer, while the third car will be driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis and Marco Bonanomi.