Given the crisis that blights our world today, I'm sure I've not been alone in wishing for a time machine to whirl me back to happier times. My dreams came true on Monday, at least those for the discipline of the sport I love, when Audi announced its return to frontline endurance racing. It felt like I'd been dumped back in the winter of 2011-12, a time when we were relishing a three-way battle between the German manufacturer, Peugeot and Toyota in the born-again World Endurance Championship coming on stream in the year ahead.
That was an exciting time for international sportscar racing. We had Audi and Peugeot, who'd been at it hammer and tongs at the Le Mans 24 Hours and then the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup for six seasons, and another grandee of the endurance world in Toyota coming to the LMP1 party in 2012 for some development races ahead of a full campaign the following year.
Porsche, by that time, had announced that it would be joining them in 2014. Sportscar racing was on the up, and many of us were predicting we were set for a halcyon age.