Plasma membrane-associated small GTPase which cycles between active GTP-bound and inactive GDP-bound states. In its active state, binds to a variety of effector proteins to regulate cellular responses such as secretory processes, phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, epithelial cell polarization and growth-factor induced formation of membrane ruffles. Rac1 p21/rho GDI heterodimer is the active component of the cytosolic factor sigma 1, which is involved in stimulation of the NADPH oxidase activity in macrophages. Essential for the SPATA13-mediated regulation of cell migration and adhesion assembly and disassembly (By similarity). Stimulates PKN2 kinase activity (By similarity). In concert with RAB7A, plays a role in regulating the formation of RBs (ruffled borders) in osteoclasts.