Allan McNish will hope to get his Le Mans Series title challenge off to a flying start this weekend as the new season kicks off at Barcelona.

The 38-year-old triple American Le Mans Series champion switches back to race full-time in Europe with the factory Audi team, which will go up against rivals Peugeot in a full season for the first time.

McNish will continue to be partnered by Dindo Capello and the former F1 man admitted it wasn't going to be easy during the year.

"I'm excited about racing in Europe full time again and will be aiming to get Audi's Le Mans Series campaign off to a solid start at Barcelona," he said. "Having raced against the Peugeot at Sebring in mid-March, we know that it's going to be a dog fight with them in Spain.

"Although it wouldn't be nice for spectators, I'd be quite happy if we had some typical Scottish weather down there.

"Barcelona is about downforce and the efficiency of it. Although it has a long straight, that's only a small part of the track with the majority made up of interconnecting corners that put huge 'loads' on tyres and drivers. Apart from the two diesel Peugeots, there's also likely to be another ten cars at least in our LM P1 class so all five races will be a big challenge, There will be around 50 cars in the Barcelona race so that means plenty of overtaking."

McNish, who last raced regularly in Europe in 2004, and Capello are joined in the Audi Sport Team Joest squad by Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller in a similar Audi R10 TDI.

"I started the final LMS race at Spa in Belgium leading the 2004 championship having won races at the N?rburgring and Silverstone but ultimately just missed out on the title to my Audi UK team-mates," McNish continued. "I did three LMS races for Audi in 2005, winning one [Silverstone] and finishing second in the other two in an Oreca-run Audi R8.

"The last two years I've spent racing in the America's equivalent of the LMS with Audi's pioneering turbo diesel sports-prototype. The R10 TDI has only previously raced at Le Mans in Europe."