A lap is counted after going around a track once. Most tracks in Mario Kart games are completed in three laps, but there are exceptions.
- All Super Mario Kart tracks have 5 laps. The lap count for tracks that are featured as Retro Stages in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8 from this game were changed to 3.
- In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the number of laps can be changed from 3 to 5 during Quick Play mode. Normally in the Grand Prix, 3 laps will be used on the regular tracks and 5 on the Extra Tracks.
- Baby Park has 7 laps in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, due to its small size. The lap count was changed to 5 in Mario Kart DS, though went back to 7 in Mario Kart 8.
- Wario Colosseum has 2 laps in Double Dash!!, due to its large size.
- In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the number of laps may be freely changed from a range of 1 to 9 during VS Race.
- In Mario Kart 7, Maka Wuhu, Rainbow Road and Wuhu Loop must be completed in only one lap. Instead, it has star banner sections. Once all three sections are completed, the race ends.
- Similar to Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8 had three courses; Mount Wario, N64 Rainbow Road, and Big Blue, where a single-lap race (divided into thirds) took place instead.