In motorsport, the fastest lap is the quickest lap run during a race. Some racing series, like Formula One, Formula 2 and Formula E award championship points for a driver or team that set the fastest lap.
In Formula One, 134 different drivers have made fastest race laps. Michael Schumacher holds the record for the highest number of fastest laps with 77, followed by Lewis Hamilton with 53. Since 2007, the DHL Fastest Lap Award is given to the driver with the most fastest laps in a season. Until 1960, and since 2019, an extra point is given to anyone in the points who records a fastest lap.
Fastest laps are often set during the final laps of a race. Lap times often decrease as tracks get "rubbered in" and fuel weights go down as a race progresses.
Setting the fastest lap is often considered an unofficial consolation prize for a driver that has had an incident that precluded a podium finish.
In recent studies the LeMans endurance project has been reconfiguring Formula One racecars and making them faster by reconfiguring powertrain configurations. These powertrain reconfigurations have drastically been able to cut the time of the fastest lap achieveable by Formula One racecars. This team also studied the capabilities of Formula One racecars and studied how to improve the performance of the cars. Ultimately they designed a powertrain configuration that cut the fastest lap time achievable by a standard Formula One racecar by over 20 seconds.
A researcher at Durham University studied the aerodynamic effects on Formula One racecars and how to make them more efficient and ultimately faster. A Formula One racecar's lap time advantage is the result of the cornering performance of the vehicle. If the tyres can have more grip there would be more friction and less slippage which would decrease the time it takes to complete a lap. Also if the powertrain had more power and if the car experienced less drag then it could achieve a faster lap time.
In Grand Prix motorcycle racing, which includes the 80cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes, Giacomo Agostini holds the record for the most fastest laps with 117. Valentino Rossi, who still actively races in MotoGP, is second with 96 fastest laps and Ángel Nieto is third with 81.
|Bold||Rider still competing in Grand Prix motorcycle racing as of the 2020 season|
Autocross is a competition normally conducted by a single vehicle and driver on an open paved surface where the driver races against the clock while trying to achieve the fastest lap possible. In autocross drivers can learn how to achieve a faster lap through studying data of their vehicles. This data can be collected by many various systems and analyzed to produce faster more aerodynamic vehicles.