Rebellion Racing has already shown race-winning pace at Silverstone this weekend ahead of Sunday's opening round of the 2019/20 World Endurance Championship, according to Toyota.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon pointed to the speed of the #1 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 in qualifying on Saturday and in free practice on Friday as evidence that it will challenge his TS050 HYBRIDs in the Silverstone 4 Hours.
"If you look at the ideal times, putting all three sectors together, the top three cars are within one tenth in qualifying," he said.
"If you look at free practice two, the Rebellion is actually faster than us on traffic-free laps, consistently faster."
The #1 Rebellion qualified by Bruno Senna and Gustavo Menezes ended up half a second behind Toyota's pole winners Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, but Vasselon revealed that the best hypothetical lap for the fastest of the R-13s was only 0.092s off.
"Toyota #7 was at 1m35.993s, Toyota #8 at 1m35.983s and Rebellion #1 at 1m36.025s," he explained.
"We managed to be one-two on the grid because our drivers combined their best sectors and because the two drivers were very those together.
"This is good news for the Equivalence of Technology."
Vasselon suggested that the Rebellion could potentially win the's race, but said it was more likely to happen at round two at Fuji when the new system of success handicaps introduced in LMP1 in the WEC kicks in.
"A privateer could win here at Silverstone, but at Fuji they should be strong for sure," he said.
Vasselon conceded that Toyota's hybrid system should give the Japanese cars an advantage in traffic in the race.
"We have a bit more flexibility on traffic which compensates for the fact that we have slightly less pace in free air, but on the other hand they have higher top speed - they can pass in places we cannot," he said.
- New era for the WEC
- How rules guarantee Toyota defeats
- Toyota sweeps Silverstone front row
- WEC outlines success handicap details
- Judge LMP1 on its glorious high not its fall
Menezes, who shares the #1 Rebellion with Senna and Norman Nato, said the WEC "had done a good job of closing the gap" between the factory Toyotas and the privateers.
Asked if Rebellion could finish better than third, he said: "We're still hoping for more; right now it is uncertain."
Changes to the EoT, the means by which the rulemakers are trying to equate hybrid and non-hybrid cars, have resulted in the minimum weight of the Toyotas increasing by 28kg over the off season.
The Silverstone 4 Hours WEC round starts at midday local time.