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Tracks or courses are selections in the Mario Kart series on which races are held. Since the release of Mario Kart DS, many have been revamped and featured in retro cups.

Themes

Throughout the series, tracks come in many forms depending on its theme.

Circuit

These courses are the most basic form of racing tracks. As the theme implies, these courses resemble typical go-kart circuits with very little to no gimmicks and obstacles. They are usually found on Mushroom Cup and Flower Cup. In the early games, circuits usually share the same theme music.

Stadium

These courses are less common than circuits and made its debut in Mario Kart 64. These courses usually contain several more gimmicks than circuits and often contain ramps to make jumps. Stadiums are mostly featured in the Star Cup or Special Cup, although one in Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe) is instead featured in the Mushroom Cup.

Off-Road

These are the most common form of racetracks, a recurring theme throughout the Mario Kart courses. Off-road courses vary depending on the game, ranging from simple, circuit-like tracks to complicated, challenging courses with lots of gimmicks and obstacles. Most courses are in off-road form and are usually found in across all cups.

Snow

These courses are basically off-road tracks taking place in a snowy weather. The tracks' surfaces are usually slippery and can make karts spin out or slow down if one is driving carelessly. It is notably also a lot more difficult to drift in these tracks.

Jungle

Appearing in several of the games, these tracks are typically set deep in a forest and are most often themed after Donkey Kong.

Fire

These tracks are mainly associated with Bowser, usually set around lava pits.

Water

Water-themed courses have appeared since the first game of the series. As its name implies, they take place on a shore, near a coast, or inside water-themed places. The water usually serves as a hazard where racers could fall into. However, in Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, and its port, racers can drive underwater in some courses up to a point.

City

These courses are usually set right in the middle of a city, using cars, trucks, and other vehicles as hazards to players. Examples include, but are not limited to, Mushroom City and Toad's Turnpike, Moonview Highway, and Neo Bowser City/Koopa City.

Miscellaneous

There are other tracks whose themes include non-Mario courses, borrowing themes from other series, including the Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, and F-Zero series.

New Cups

Every game after Mario Kart 64 except Mario Kart: Super Circuit has four cups with new tracks. Its fifth cup, the Lightning Cup, is actually the third cup in that game. Beginning with Mario Kart DS, these are known as Nitro Cups; this is due to "Nitro" being the codename for the Nintendo DS during its development. In Mario Kart Wii, however, they were retitled to Wii Cups. In Mario Kart 7, they were once again called Nitro Cups. However, in Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe), they were renamed to New Cups.

Mushroom

Mushroom Cup is the the simplest Grand Prix cup, with the easiest tracks to complete. It is the first cup in every game.  The courses of this cup consist only of a simple layout without a lot of gimmicks.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
Mario Circuit 1 Luigi Raceway Peach Circuit Luigi Circuit Figure-8 Circuit  Luigi Circuit Toad Circuit Mario Kart Stadium
Donut Plains 1 Moo Moo Farm Shy Guy Beach Peach Beach Yoshi Falls Moo Moo Meadows Daisy Hills Water Park
Ghost Valley 1 Koopa Troopa Beach Riverside Park Baby Park Cheep Cheep Beach Mushroom Gorge Cheep Cheep Lagoon Sweet Sweet Canyon
Bowser Castle 1 Kalimari Desert Bowser Castle 1 Dry Dry Desert Luigi's Mansion Toad's Factory Shy Guy Bazaar Thwomp Ruins
Mario Circuit 2 N/A

Flower

The Flower Cup is the second cup in every Mario Kart game. The courses are a little harder than those of the Mushroom Cup and feature more gimmicks and challenges. All games feature a Mario Circuit in this cup except for Mario Kart DS, which had its Mario Circuit in the Star Cup instead.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
Choco Island 1 Toad's Turnpike Mario Circuit Mushroom Bridge Desert Hills Mario Circuit Wuhu Loop Mario Circuit
Ghost Valley 2 Frappe Snowland Boo Lake Mario Circuit Delfino Square Coconut Mall Mario Circuit Toad Harbor
Donut Plains 2 Choco Mountain Cheese Land Daisy Cruiser Waluigi Pinball DK Summit / DK's Snowboard Cross Music Park / Melody Motorway Twisted Mansion 
Bowser Castle 2 Mario Raceway Bowser Castle 2 Waluigi Stadium Shroom Ridge Wario's Gold Mine Rock Rock Mountain Shy Guy Falls 
Mario Circuit 3 N/A

Lightning (Nitro)

The Lightning Cup was only used as an original cup in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, in addition to the standard four. It is the third cup out of the five in the game. Since the release of Mario Kart DS onwards, all games reuse the Lightning Cup as the final cup of the Retro Grand Prix instead.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
N/A Luigi Circuit N/A
Sky Garden
Cheep Cheep Island
Sunset Wilds

Star

The Star Cup is the second to the last cup in all Mario Kart games. It contains more gimmicks, obstacles, and challenges than the previous two. Most games feature an ice or snow-themed course in this cup. In Mario Kart 7, this is the only cup to have all four of its courses to have a PAL name.

Most notably, Wario Stadium, Mushroom City, DS Mario Circuit, and Daisy Circuit are the only courses from their games cups to not be remade.

This is the only Mario Circuit track that is in the star cup not counting the SNES versions.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
Koopa Beach 1 Wario Stadium Snow Land Sherbet Land DK Pass Daisy Circuit Piranha Plant Slide Sunshine Airport
Choco Island 2 Sherbet Land Ribbon Road Mushroom City Tick-Tock Clock Koopa Cape Wario Shipyard  Dolphin Shoals 
Vanilla Lake 1 Royal Raceway Yoshi Desert Yoshi Circuit Mario Circuit Maple Treeway Neo Bowser City  Electrodrome 
Bowser Castle 3 Bowser's Castle Bowser Castle 3 DK Mountain Airship Fortress Grumble Volcano Maka Wuhu Mount Wario 
Mario Circuit 4 N/A

Special

The Special Cup, before the introduction of retro cups, was the final cup in all Mario Kart games, featuring, unique, long, and challenging courses with lots of gimmicks. In all but the first two games, the second to last course is Bowser's Castle. In all games, the final track is the Rainbow Road, the track to end all races.

Mario Kart 64 and 8 Deluxe are the only games in the series in which the Special Cup is unlocked at the start of the game.

As of Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe), none of the courses in Super Circuit and Wii's Special Cup have received a remake.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
Donut Plains 3 D.K.'s Jungle Parkway Lakeside Park Wario Colosseum Wario Stadium Dry Dry Ruins DK Jungle Cloudtop Cruise
Koopa Beach 2 Yoshi Valley Broken Pier Dino Dino Jungle Peach Gardens Moonview Highway Rosalina's Ice World Bone-Dry Dunes
Ghost Valley 3 Banshee Boardwalk Bowser('s) Castle
Vanilla Lake 2 Rainbow Road
Rainbow Road N/A

Original Battle Stages

The original battle stages are arenas filled with certain obstacles, such as off-road sections, walls, and hazards like crabs. These can lead to being hit by items. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is the only game to have unlockable battle courses. Mario Kart 8 is the only game to have tracks as battle courses.

SNES N64 GBA GCN DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
Battle Course 1 Big Donut Battle Course 1 Cookie Land Nintendo DS Block Plaza Honeybee Hive Mario Circuit * Battle Stadium
Battle Course 2 Block Fort Battle Course 2 Block City Twilight House Delfino Pier Sherbet Rink Toad Harbor * Sweet Sweet Kingdom
Battle Course 3 Double Deck Battle Course 3 Nintendo Gamecube Palm Shore Funky Stadium Wuhu Town N/A Dragon Palace
Battle Course 4 Skyscraper Battle Course 4 Pipe Plaza Tart Top Chain Chomp Wheel N/A Lunar Colony
N/A Luigi's Mansion N/A Thwomp Desert Urchin Underpass
Tilt-A-Kart Galaxy Colosseum ** N/A
* - Grand Prix track playable in battle mode
** - only available on tournaments

Retro Cups

Games from Mario Kart DS onwards feature four retro cups and at least one retro battle course in battle mode. Retro courses and arenas are recreations of those found in older games. Colored squares indicate the original game in which the course first appeared for each course and arena in this section. One must note that the Lightning Cup was 1st and only used as an normal cup for Mario Kart: Super Circuit.

The structure for the tracks used in each retro cup, based on the originating game, is the following:

  • Mario Kart DS: As the fifth installment in the Mario Kart series, each retro cup in this game features tracks from the four previous titles in chronological order: Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Retro battle courses, however, are limited to one stage from Mario Kart 64 and another from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • Mario Kart Wii: Each retro cup features one track from Mario Kart 64, one from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and another from Mario Kart DS. The Shell Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a track from Super Mario Kart, while the Banana Cup and Leaf Cup each feature a track from Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Contrary to the Mario Kart DS retro cups, the track order for each Mario Kart Wii retro cup varies instead of being in chronological order (the only constant pattern is that any cup with a Mario Kart: Super Circuit course has it second). For battle stages, one from each of the five previous games is available.
  • Mario Kart 7: Each retro cup features one track from Mario Kart DS and another from Mario Kart Wii. Every cup except the Lightning Cup features a Mario Kart 64 track. The only Mario Kart: Super Circuit retro track appears in the Shell Cup. The Banana Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a Super Mario Kart track. Finally, the Leaf Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a Mario Kart: Double Dash!! track. Cups with a Mario Kart 64 track always start with that. The order varies for the others. Battle stages are from Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart DS respectively.
  • Mario Kart 8: Every cup features an Mario Kart 64 course. All cups have a course from Mario Kart 7 except the Shell Cup, which instead has the only course from Mario Kart: Super Circuit in the game, excluding downloadable content. All cups have a Mario Kart DS course except the Banana Cup, which instead has the only course from Super Mario Kart in the game. The Shell and Lightning Cups each have a Mario Kart Wii course and the Banana and Leaf Cups each have a Mario Kart: Double Dash!! course. The course order once again is random, however all the cups have their Mario Kart 64 course last except the Banana Cup which has it third instead. Retro battle courses are not actually courses initially used for battle; however, retro Grand-Prix courses in the game have been slightly adjusted are the ones used for Balloon Battle. The course from Super Mario Kart, both the courses from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, one of the two courses from Mario Kart Wii, and two of the four courses from Mario Kart 64 appear as playable battle courses in this game.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: A large part of its retro format has been reused again from Mario Kart 8. However, a notable change includes the complete scrapping of the retro Grand-Prix courses slightly tweaked as battle courses, favoring instead the usage of genuine retro courses originally used as battle courses.

Shell

All tracks in the Shell Cup originated in the Mushroom Cup, with the exception of Ghost Valley 2, Mario Circuit, Toad's Turnpike, and Mario Raceway, originating instead from the Flower Cup.

DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
 SNES
Mario Circuit 1
 GCN
Peach Beach
 N64
Luigi Raceway
 Wii
Moo Moo Meadows
 N64
Moo Moo Farm
 DS
Yoshi Falls
 GBA
Bowser Castle 1
 GBA
Mario Circuit
 GBA
Peach Circuit
 SNES
Ghost Valley 2
 Wii
Mushroom Gorge
 DS
Cheep Cheep Beach
 GCN
Luigi Circuit
 N64
Mario Raceway
 DS
Luigi's Mansion
 N64
Toad's Turnpike

Banana

Most tracks in the Banana Cup debuted in the Flower Cup. Many, however, originated in the Mushroom Cup: the first track in Mario Kart DS, 7, and 8 (Deluxe), the second track in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7, and the last track in Mario Kart DS. Sherbet Land and Royal Raceway come from the Star Cup. DK Jungle and Donut Plains 3 come from the Special Cup, due to how easy both of these tracks are.

DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
 SNES
Donut Plains 1
 N64
Sherbet Land
 N64
Koopa Troopa Beach
 GCN
Dry Dry Desert
 N64
Frappe Snowland
 GBA
Shy Guy Beach
 SNES
Mario Circuit 2
 SNES
Donut Plains 3
 GBA
Bowser Castle 2
 DS
Delfino Square
 Wii
Coconut Mall
 N64
Royal Raceway 
 GCN
Baby Park
 GCN
Waluigi Stadium
 DS
Waluigi Pinball
 3DS
DK Jungle

Leaf

The Leaf Cup also gets most of its courses from the Flower Cup. However, the 2nd course in Mario Kart Wii, 7, and 8 (Deluxe), and as well as the last course in Mario Kart 7 come from the Star Cup of their game. Another pattern is that the first course in Mario Kart DS and 8 (Deluxe), the third course in Mario Kart Wii, and as well as the last course in Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe) come from the Special Cup.

The only course that originated from the Mushroom Cup to appear in this cup is Kalimari Desert.

DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
 SNES
Koopa Beach 2
 DS
Desert Hills
 N64
Kalimari Desert
 DS
Wario Stadium
 N64
Choco Mountain
 GBA
Bowser Castle 3
 DS
DK Pass
 GCN
Sherbet Land
 GBA
Luigi Circuit
 N64
DK's Jungle Parkway
 GCN
Daisy Cruiser
 3DS
Music Park / Melody Motorway
 GCN
Mushroom Bridge
 GCN
Mario Circuit
 Wii
Maple Treeway
 N64
Yoshi Valley

Lightning (Classic)

From Mario Kart DS onwards, the Lightning Cup is used as the last retro cup. The majority of tracks were originally featured in the Star Cup. However, the second track in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, and the last in Mario Kart 7, and 8 (Deluxe) originate from the Special Cup. The third track in Mario Kart DS originates from Super Circuit's Lightning Cup and the first track in Mario Kart Wii originates from the Flower Cup. Another pattern is that the final track from the Star Cup from the game two games prior reappears as the third track of the cup.

DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
 SNES
Choco Island 2
 SNES
Mario Circuit 3
 Wii
Koopa Cape
 DS
Tick-Tock Clock
 N64
Banshee Boardwalk
 DS
Peach Gardens
 GCN
Dino Dino Jungle
 3DS
Piranha Plant Slide
 GBA
Sky Garden
 GCN
DK Mountain
 DS
Airship Fortress
 Wii
Grumble Volcano
 GCN
Yoshi Circuit
 N64
Bowser's Castle
 SNES
Rainbow Road
 N64
Rainbow Road

Retro Battle Stages

Nineteen battle stages have been remade throughout Mario Kart DS, Wii, 7, and 8 (Deluxe). In Mario Kart 8, six retro tracks were adjusted to be more suitable for Balloon Battle. The retro battle courses are no different from last time they appeared, having the same course layout as before.

DS Wii 3DS Wii U Switch
 N64
Block Fort
 SNES
Battle Course 4
 GBA
Battle Course 1
 Wii
Moo Moo Meadows *
 3DS
Wuhu Town
 GCN
Pipe Plaza
 GBA
Battle Course 3
 N64
Big Donut
 GCN
Dry Dry Desert *
 GCN
Luigi's Mansion
N/A  N64
Skyscraper
 DS
Palm Shore
 SNES
Donut Plains 3 *
 SNES
Battle Course 1
 GCN
Cookie Land
N/A  N64
Toad's Turnpike *
N/A
 DS
Twilight House
 GCN
Sherbet Land *
N/A  N64
Yoshi Valley *
* - Grand Prix track playable in battle mode

DLC Cups

In Mario Kart 8, the DLC cups are 16 more tracks combined into two packs that are available for purchase. Over half of the DLC courses borrow themes from other game series, such as the Legend of Zelda, F-Zero, and Animal Crossing series. It also brings back some retro courses, making them the first cups in the entire Mario Kart series to combine both retro and new courses into one.

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the DLC Cups are no longer presented as DLC content but are instead refered to as "Bonus Cups" and are merged into the core game.

Interestingly, none of the Egg Cup or Triforce Cup tracks feature any water sections and all four DLC cups do not have any specifically underwater sections (excluding rivers).

Egg

Triforce

Crossing

Bell

The Legend of Zelda × Mario Kart 8 DLC Animal Crossing × Mario Kart 8 DLC
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
GCN Yoshi Circuit
also in Mario Kart DS
Wii Wario's Gold Mine GCN Baby Park
also in Mario Kart DS
3DS Neo Bowser City
Excitebike Arena SNES Rainbow Road
also in Mario Kart 7
GBA Cheese Land GBA Ribbon Road
Dragon Driftway Ice Ice Outpost Wild Woods Super Bell Subway
Mute City Hyrule Circuit Animal Crossing Big Blue

First Waves

Golden Dash

Lucky Cat

Turnip

Propeller

Wave 1 Wave 2
Tour Paris Promenade 1 Tour Tokyo Blur
3DS Toad Circuit
also in Mario Kart Tour
DS Shroom Ridge
N64 Choco Mountain
also in Mario Kart DS
GBA Sky Garden
also in Mario Kart DS
Wii Coconut Mall
also in Mario Kart 7
Tour Ninja Hideaway

3rd and 4th Waves

Rock

Moon

Fruit

Boomerang

Wave 3 Wave 4

Last Waves

Feather

Cherry

Acorn

Spiny

Wave 5 Wave 6

Extra Cups

Extra Cups are ports of Super Mario Kart tracks that appeared in Mario Kart: Super Circuit. They are unlocked by having the gold trophy of the Special Cup of an engine class, playing any cup again, and getting 100 coins in the respective cup. For example, after completing the Special Cup, if a player goes back and plays the Mushroom Cup and collects more than 100 coins, they will unlock the Extra Mushroom Cup.

Each extra track has not been scaled up from Super Mario Kart, remaining the same relative size; this results in the old system of five laps instead of three. Additionally, most hazards have been removed from the tracks, most likely because of game size limitations.

The extra tracks all have the Super Circuit backgrounds (such as the Sunset Wilds background in Choco Island tracks and the Shy Guy Beach background in Koopa Beach tracks).

Mushroom

Flower

Lightning

Star

Special

Mario Circuit 1 Mario Circuit 2 Bowser Castle 2 Vanilla Lake 1 Koopa Beach 2
Donut Plains 1 Choco Island 1 Mario Circuit 3 Bowser Castle 3 Ghost Valley 3
Ghost Valley 1 Ghost Valley 2 Koopa Beach 1 Mario Circuit 4 Vanilla Lake 2
Bowser Castle 1 Donut Plains 2 Choco Island 2 Donut Plains 3 Rainbow Road

In Single-Pak Link mode, only the Extra Mushroom Cup is available.

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