"What is going on with the LMP1 privateers? Why are they so slow?" Those were the questions Toyota was asking after the official pre-race test for the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours last weekend.
Everyone was slower at the test day on Sunday than 12 months ago because it was much hotter, but Toyota expressed surprise that the Rebellion and SMP squads, the independents most likely to be nibbling at its heels next week, were significantly slower than one year ago when, to its mind, they damn well shouldn't be.
That's because since the last edition of Le Mans, the privateers have been given a helping hand under the Equivalence of Technology, the means by which the rulemakers are attempting to make sure there is something approaching a genuine battle at the front of the World Endurance Championship. And then there's the year's worth of development Rebellion and SMP have put on what were more of less brand new cars this time in 2018.