McLaren famously won 15 out of 16 races in 1988 with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, with Mercedes matching that victory tally in the 19-round 2014 season.
Dennis said such feats of dominance are what marks a team out as being truly great.
"The 1988 car was very late and at the time testing was unlimited so when we arrived at Imola all the other teams had clearly demonstrated their competitiveness," he said.
Aston Martin want Vettel to stay and expect answer 'imminently'
Was McLaren-Honda's first test a disaster?
"On the third timed lap of the car it was over a second faster than everybody who had been testing for days and by the end of the test we were two seconds faster.
"What we achieved then, and what our rivals Mercedes achieved this year, is exactly what our objective is for the future - which is domination.
"I remember at the beginning of the  season I said we were here to win races.
"So you could argue that as we didn't win a race and we're using words such as 'domination' then we're setting ourselves up for an almighty fall.
"But domination doesn't come in a short period of time, it takes time.
"It is what we're about because it is the only thing that really sets you aside from people who just win races.
"Winning races is challenging but domination is really challenging."
Dennis believes the resources Honda is dedicating to its F1 return will guarantee success, describing the facilities at the project's Sakura headquarters as "extremely mind-blowing".
"The commitment and the attitude and the absolute focus and desire to raise the bar is all present in those facilities and also in the developing attitude of the Honda/McLaren engineers," he said.
"I feel very confident that as we move forward into next season we have a realistic prospect of achieving our objectives."
Verstappen's collision with Hamilton a 'tactical foul' - Wolff
Italian Grand Prix
'I feel very, very fortunate' - Hamilton says halo saved him in crash with Verstappen