Audi boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich says none of the LMP1 manufacturers will know its true place in the running order until the end of the 2016 World Endurance Championship season opener at Silverstone.
The German manufacturer charges into the new campaign aiming to make up the lost ground to Porsche who dominated to the drivers', teams' and manufacturers' crowns last year.
Audi has rolled out its all-new R18 e-tron quattro with a 4.0-litre turbo diesel V6 which has a higher power output, with a total of 1000hp, while running with around 10% less fuel consumption compared to the older model.
Audi has also revised its aerodynamics package as well as the monocoque and suspension units plus various other parts including the central hydraulics. Head of motorsport Ullrich believes the completely reviewed R18 is yet to unleash its full potential after the Prologue and expects his squad to take the fight to Porsche at the season opener.
“The cards have been reshuffled this year,” Ullrich said. “All the manufacturers will be on the grid with new race cars. The Audi R18 practically has not a single bolt in common anymore with its predecessor. Nobody knows the new relative strengths yet. The Silverstone season opener will be the first assessment of where everyone stands.”
Audi heads into 2016 with an unchanged driver line-up in both cars, with last year's winners at Silverstone Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer returning to action in #7 while Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval compete in the sister #8 machine.