It is understood that the system is a means of bring cars down to a slower speed within seconds of a Safety Car being called, whereas current behaviour is generally to race to the pits and/or the back of the train once the physical Safety Car appears on the race track.
“What we were trying to help Supercars with is looking towards the future with how we can improve the safety when there's a car in a position you don't want,” Triple Eight Team Manager Mark Dutton explained to reporters in the squad's garage.
“Launching a Safety Car obviously takes time to slow the field, so this was a systems check of a Safety Car sort of limiter.
“This wasn't the refined version around it, this was just, ‘Okay, let's have a button' because you don't use the pit limiter button that we use in pit lane.
“So, there's a secondary button to enact a Safety Car speed limit.
“Unfortunately, it cost us massively because it pretty much destroyed our session.”
According to Dutton, van Gisbergen was limited to 120km/h.
“So, to begin with – we still have to diagnose everything – it was on,” he recounted.
“So, you could do 120km/h. You don't get a very good lap time when you can only do 120km/h.
“That clearly wasn't meant to be happening and it unfortunately took a while [to fix] as these things tend to because it's not like the old days where we were allowed to jump into the ECU and do all the changes.”
The drama is said to have cost the #97 crew 18 minutes of Practice 1, the first of just two half-hour sessions this weekend.
“Then the problem is, it's 18 minutes to the car is how it should be, but then it's also the fact that the car's not a robot, so they've lost all this time,” noted Dutton.
“They're trying to work towards something, they've done all their prep work, all the build-up, everything's been thrown out the window, so you're in recovery mode to try and get back to learning something. All your test programme's out the window.
“So, it's done the whole session for us. We'll work hard to make sure that it doesn't have a lingering knock-on effect for the rest of the weekend.
“The sessions are so short, the field's so tight, as we've all seen, so you can't afford this to happen.
“Ultimately, this comes back to a mistake on my part as Team Manager to not say ‘No, we're not going to do this; let's do this at a test day.'
“You try and be nice and do it for the category – it's a safety thing, it's 100 percent non-performance, what we were doing – but, unfortunately, it made us have no performance.
“It's been a very expensive lesson today.”
The system in question is not a Virtual Safety Car as Formula 1 has, although it has some similar characteristics.
In effect, though, it would enforce the Safety Car conditions before the race cars catch the Safety Car itself, within some prescribed time period of the yellow flags taking effect.
It is thought that more cars were going to trial the system this afternoon at the end of Practice 2, but that is now unlikely.
Practice 2 is due to start at 14:05 local time/14:35 AEST.