Audi will kick off its 2013 LMP1 prototype campaign with an assault on the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The manufacturer has firmed up its intention to contest the opening round of the American Le Mans Series on March 16 with a pair of R18 e-tron quattros, even though the race is not part of the World Endurance Series this season.
The likelihood of Audi racing in the event was raised by its head of racing commitments, Dieter Gass, when the calendar for this year's WEC was announced in October. He told AUTOSPORT of Audi's desire to use the race, as usual, as part of its preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours and to bid farewell to an event that it has won 10 times in the past.
LMP1 machinery will not be eligible for Sebring when it becomes part of the unified U.S. sports car series in 2014.
Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich said: "Sebring is where Audi's sports car era that has been so successful began. We expect that with two hybrid models we will be battling for overall victory in the 12-hour race for the last time this year."
Audi will split its Sebring attack between a 2012-spec R18 e-tron quattro and an updated 2013 version. The two cars will be driven by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi, and Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Oliver Jarvis.
Audi will also be celebrating its rich heritage at Sebring with a display of the four designs – the R8, the R10, R15 and R18 – that have triumphed in the event.
The Joest Audi team will remain at the Sebring International Raceway the week after the race to take part in the traditional post-race test.