Emanuele Pirro says he is delighted to be returning to prototype racing with Paul Drayson's LMP1 team this year.
The five-time Le Mans winner last drove for Audi in 2008 and remains an ambassador for the brand, but has signed up to drive the Drayson Racing Lola-Judd at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans this season.
"To go back into prototypes is a really good opportunity for me," Pirro said. "When I did my last season in 2008 I wasn't really ready to retire from prototype racing. I realized in '09 that I was missing this type of racing very much, so I was thrilled when I got the proposal from Drayson Racing.
"This is a passion-driven decision and I'm sure I will be finding people who share the same motivation as I have, so I'm looking forward to it. I haven't driven a non-turbo engine for ages and I will probably appreciate the driveability of his normally aspirated engine.
"In fact, 1991 JJ Lehto and I drove the Judd V10 engine for the first time [for the Scuderia Italia Formula 1 team] so I know the sound of the great grandmother of this engine."
Pirro had seat fitting at Lola HQ this morning and will shake down the car tomorrow, ahead of his debut at Sebring next month. He has been impressed so far with the operation.
"I know how much effort a manufacturer like Audi is putting into sports cars, and how a smaller manufacturer like Lola can make something so close in performance is very good.
"I wanted to come and see the factory and the car, to get acquainted with the systems and above all the team. Part of the pleasure of racing is being all together and pulling the rope in one direction. If you don't know the people it's very difficult to do it, and I don't want to arrive at Sebring as an alien."