Allan McNish believes Audi needs to gain more race experience with its R15 to give it a better opportunity to defeat Peugeot at Le Mans next year.
The German manufacturer's new car did not race between Sebring and Le Mans this year and McNish admits that the limited testing put the team at a disadvantage in this year's 24 Hours.
"I think it's a good thing in a way, because it's the first time they [Audi] have had a punch in the nose for a wee while and it is quite good just to refresh everybody's memory," said McNish. "Peugeot will be back to defend the honour so that sets us up pretty well, but there is no question that we have got to be better than we were to put them under the pressure that we need to do.
"You do need to race, that's why it is called motor racing. We have never, not with the R8 or the R10, raced between Sebring and Le Mans with that car. It has only ever been testing, so that wouldn't have changed this year. If we were racing with the R10, we wouldn't have learned anything extra as to what we did in our testing.
"The main problem with our testing was that it was rained out most of the time and when it wasn't we had two shunts. One at Sebring and one at Ricard, which then put us 30 hours behind. So we were a little bit late, and that is just a fact of life. But of course we have to race, you cannot, as a driving crew or a team, go from Le Mans to Le Mans without being out there and going for it. That doesn't work, the competition is too high."
McNish added that he is pleased to see Peugeot commit to race two cars at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in September, but does not know whether Audi will join its rival.
"It's good that Peugeot has committed to those races at the end of the year because that is also good for Acura, it gives them a wee bit more status," McNish said.
"I don't think it is a case of desire [for Audi to enter]. The desire is there, it is just a case of all the ducks forming in a row. I don't know what will happen, I haven't got a clue."