In the Power Lap segment, The Stig completes a lap around the Top Gear test track to gauge the performance of various cars. It is a typically short segment, lasting no more than a couple of minutes, and is highly formulaic in nature.
As mentioned by Richard Hammond in Series 3, Episode 4, the original intentions of the Power Lap segment was to have identical conditions for ever single power lap, which meant that the track would always have to be wet, even when conditions were otherwise dry. This necessitated the use of a water tanker, which was expensive to use and would not accurately replicate the effects of rainfall, leading to the initial lap of the Lamborghini Murciélago to be slower than it otherwise would have been. This policy was soon abandoned and the Murciélago was retested, setting the fastest lap time on the board.
Notable power laps
Below is a list of notable power laps. They are ordered chronologically.
For Series 14, Episode 3, The Stig took the Lancia Stratos-inspired Hawk HF3000 around for a lap. However, the first time around, the car broke down unexpectedly in an unscripted manner and caused The Stig to walk away from it, potentially resulting in a DNF. However, as there was no way that host Jeremy Clarkson would allow the board's first DNF to be a Lancia, the car was repaired and sent around again, where it had been raining. This resulted in the car struggling to maintain grip and spinning out twice, losing time. It would end up being the slowest lap set up to that point.
Bentley Continental Supersports
On the premiere episode of Series 15, footage of the lap was cut mid-way through to focus on a group of Hyundai i30s which were playing Car Football. While this was happening, commentary for Stig's lap suddenly reached high levels of absurdity, with Clarkson reporting on alleged events such as Stig crashing the Bentley in an explosive rollover and having to dodge naked waitresses and a tiger, before shaking hands with Elvis. Of course, none of this was seen due to the short game between the group of Hyundais, and was used as a satirical take on commercial networks' coverage of sport, often missing crucial events due to the breaks in between.
Power Lap Boards
For a list of times, please view the following articles: