The Germans are all about joy and pleasure in their driving these days, with BMW's Joy of Driving campaign and now Audi's new R15 TDI livery--described as "pleasure in efficiency"--the face of the movement. We're not sure what that's all about, but we like this new diesel racer, which is set to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with hopes of reasserting Audi's dominance of the prototype category.

The new R15 TDI, designated internally as the "R15 plus" to denote its upgraded mechanicals, is the latest of Audi's diesel endurance prototype race cars. When Audi first hit the Le Mans circuit with its R10 TDI, its dominance was so fierce competitors complained and the FIA changed the regs to make it easier for the gasoline and ethanol-fueled cars to compete.

Since then, things have been tougher for Audi, but their team of brilliant drivers and the car itself have still proven highly competitive. Audi Sport Team Joest is headed to the season opener in Le Castellet this weekend ahead of the Big Race in Le Mans June 12-13.

"The race at Le Castellet comes at a very early point in time for us and is nothing but a test in racing conditions," stresses Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director of Audi Sport Team Joest. "Even though it’s a difficult logistical undertaking, we wanted to gather experiences with the R15 plus at a race as early as possible. Le Castellet offers the opportunity to do this."

Drivers for the Sport Team Joest effort will include Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Allan McNish--a megaforce of wheel skills--though it's not yet certain all three drivers will take to the track at Le Castellet.

For more on the Audi R15 TDI Plus, check out our previous coverage here.