Former GT1 World Champion Markus Winkelhock is preparing for the Rolex 24-hour race at Daytona 'like a sprint race', and expects it to be an open battle for the victory.

Winkelhock, a former 24-hour race winner with Audi, sees the Daytona International Speedway as a unique experience compared to the famous European all-day races.

"The 24 hours of Daytona seems very long," Markus Winkelhock said. "In contrast, to the European 24-hour races at the N?rburgring or Spa, in US motorsport you have the opportunity to make up lost laps during the many safety car phases.

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"As a result, no team can build up a big lead, and in the closing stages it's like a sprint race with everybody fighting for the win."

The German will take part in the 53rd 24-hour Daytona race for Flying Lizard Motorsports in an Audi R8 LMS, co-driving with Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino and Robert Thorne. Audi has enjoyed recent success in Daytona, winning in 2013 and taking second place last year in the GTD class.

Audi have produced a specially-designed aerodynamics package which is suited to the US racing scene, with a wider Daytona Prototype rear wing and new flicks, which are hoped to increase the top speed. The German manufacturers also support Paul Miller Racing and their co-drivers Christopher Hasse, Bryce Miller, Dion van Moltke and Rene Rast at Daytona.

"We will give our customer teams the best possible support so that they can bring home a good result in this race, which is one of the world's five most important endurance races," Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport Racing said. "I hope that an R8 LMS finishes on the podium again."