Allan McNish believes the Petit Le Mans was still a valuable experience for Audi even though the team lost out to Peugeot – the first time Audi had been defeated in the Road Atlanta classic since it first entered the race in 2000.
The Scot led the race in the wet at first, but had a spin under yellow and fell back to third just before the torrential rain that forced the race to be abandon set in.
Audi has only contested the Sebring 12 Hours, Le Mans 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans this year, and while McNish was frustrated to lose the race, he said Audi had gained a lot that would be useful for 2010.
"Even when we had the red flag, we were sitting down making a list of notes of things we observed, things we know we can improve on quickly and things that will take a little bit of time," he said. "That was part of the reason to come.
"I think we have got a bit more of an understanding of what it takes to get our car in the [setup] window. The funny thing about racing as opposed to testing is that in racing you have definitive points where you have got to be fast. We weren't always fast at that.
"However when we look back now we have got some very strong feelings as to why that was the case, and if this was a test then we probably wouldn't have done. So I do think from a pure 2010 point of view it was very worthwhile, and it gives us an idea where we are relative to Peugeot."
Peugeot's winning driver Stephane Sarrazin has suggested that the French squad has usurped Audi as sportscar racing's benchmark, but McNish is not so sure, despite Audi's defeats at Le Mans and Road Atlanta.
"I think they have got the quickest car," he said. "That's quite clear. I don't think they necessarily know how to beat us, because in Le Mans we probably beat ourselves as much as anything else. Here after an hour they were nearly a lap down. So I wouldn't suggest they know how to beat us and I think it would have been tight to the end of the race whichever way.
"But I would say they are a very different team to the one they were 12 months ago, and they have improved and they are much tidier and neater in everything they do but you can see that there are still a few errors in the pits and things like that."