The tracks (or courses) are the locations in Mario Kart on which races are held. Many have been revamped or featured in retro cups.
Every game 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. In Mario Kart DS, these are known as Nitro Cups.
Mushroom Cup is the easiest Grand Prix cup, with the easiest tracks to complete. It is the first cup in every game. It always started with a circuit until Mario Kart 8, which started with Mario Kart Stadium!
The Flower Cup is the second cup in every Mario Kart game. The courses are a little more difficult than those of the Mushroom Cup. All games feature a Mario track in this cup except for Mario Kart DS, which had its Mario course in the Star Cup.
The Lightning Cup is only used as an original cup in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, in addition to the standard four. It is the third cup out of five in the game. Later games would retool the Lightning Cup as the final challenge of the Retro Grand Prix.
|N/A||Cheep Cheep Island||N/A|
The Star Cup is the second to last cup in all Mario Kart games. It contains fairly difficult tracks for experienced racers. Most games feature an ice/snow course in this cup.
The Special Cup is the last and most difficult cup in all Mario Kart games. In all but the first two games, the second to last course is Bowser's Castle. In all games, the final track is Rainbow Road.
Mario Kart 64 is the only game in the series in which the Special Cup is unlocked at the start of the game.
Original Battle Stages
The original battle stages are arenas filled with certian obstacles, such as off road sections, walls, and hazards, like Crabs. These obstacles 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 Mario Kart to have tracks as battle courses.
- *=Grand Prix track playable in battle mode
Games from DS onwards feature four retro cups and a retro section in battle mode. Retro courses and arenas are recreations of those found in older games. Colored squares indicate the original game for each course and arena in this section. Note that the Lightning Cup was first and only used as an original cup for Super Circuit.
The structure for the tracks used in each Retro cup, based on the originating game, is as follows:
- 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, 64, Super Circuit and Double Dash!! Retro battle courses, however, are limited to one stage from 64 and another from Double Dash!!
- Mario Kart Wii: Each retro cup features one track from 64, one from Double Dash!! and another from DS. The Shell Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a track from Super, while the Banana Cup and Leaf Cup each feature a track from Super Circuit. Contrary to the DS retro cups, the track order for each Wii retro cup varies instead of being in chronological order (the only constant pattern is that any cup with a 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 DS and another from Wii. Every cup except the Lightning Cup features a 64 track. The only Super Circuit retro track appears in the Shell Cup. The Banana Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a Super track. Finally, the Leaf Cup and Lightning Cup each feature a Double Dash!! track. Cups with a 64 track always start with that track. The order varies for the other tracks. Battle stages are from Super Circuit, 64 and DS respectively.
- Mario Kart 8: Every cup features an N64 course. All cups have a course from 7 except the Shell Cup, which instead has the only course from Super Circuit in the game. All cups have a DS course except the Banana Cup, which instead has the only course from Super in the game. The Shell and Lightning Cups each have a Wii course and the Banana and Leaf Cups each have a Double Dash course. The course order once again is random, however all the cups have their 64 course last except the Banana Cup which has it third instead. Retro battle courses are not actually courses initially used for battle; however are retro Grand-Prix courses in the game that have been slightly adjusted be more suitable for Balloon Battle. The course from Super, both the courses from Double Dash, one of the two courses from Wii, and two of the four courses from 64 appear as playable battle stages in this game.
Overall, nine courses from Super Mario Kart, fifteen courses from Mario Kart 64, eight courses from Mario Kart: Super Circuit, twelve courses from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, eleven from Mario Kart DS, six from Mario Kart Wii, and three from Mario Kart 7 have been returned, for a total of sixty-four retro courses.
However, only ten battle courses have been remade as retro battle courses; one from Super Mario Kart, three from Mario Kart 64, two from Mario Kart: Super Circuit, two from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and two from Mario Kart DS. None from Mario Kart Wii OR Mario Kart 7 have returned
|■ SNES||■ GCN||■ N64||■ Wii|
|■ N64||■ DS||■ GBA||■ GBA|
|■ GBA||■ SNES||■ Wii||■ DS|
|■ GCN||■ N64||■ DS||■ N64|
Most tracks in the Banana Cup debuted in the Flower Cup. Many, however, originated in the Mushroom Cup: the first track in DS, 7, and 8, the second track in Wii and 7, and the last track in DS. Sherbet Land and Royal Raceway come from the Star Cup. DK Jungle and Donut Plains 3 come from the Special Cup.
|■ SNES||■ N64||■ N64||■ GCN|
|■ N64||■ GBA||■ SNES||■ SNES|
|■ GBA||■ DS||■ Wii||■ N64|
|■ GCN||■ GCN||■ DS||■ 3DS|
The Leaf Cup also gets most of it's courses from the Flower Cup. However, the second course in Wii, 7, and 8 as well as the last course in 7 come from the Star Cup of their game. Another pattern is that the first course in DS, and 8 as well as the last course in 8 come from the Special Cup. The only Mushroom Cup course to appear in this cup is Kalimari Desert. Luigi Circuit came from Super Circuit's Lightning Cup.
|■ SNES||■ DS||■ N64||■ DS|
|■ N64||■ GBA||■ DS||■ GCN|
|■ GBA||■ N64||■ GCN||■ 3DS|
|■ GCN||■ GCN||■ Wii||■ N64|
From DS onwards, the Lightning Cup is used as a retro cup. The majority of tracks were originally featured in the Star Cup. However, the second track in DS, Wii, and 7 and the last in 7 and 8 originate from the Special Cup. Also, the first track for Wii is Mario Circuit 3, which was originally found in the Flower Cup. Lastly, the third track in DS is Sky Garden, which was initially in Super Circuit's Lightning Cup.
|■ SNES||■ SNES||■ Wii||■ DS|
|■ N64||■ DS||■ GCN||■ 3DS|
|■ GBA||■ GCN||■ DS||■ Wii|
|■ GCN||■ N64||■ SNES||■ N64|
Retro Battle Stages
Ten battle stages have been remade throughout Mario Kart DS, Wii and 7. In Mario Kart 8, six retro tracks were adjusted to be more suitable for Balloon Battle. The retro battle courses are no diferentt from last time they appeared, having the same course layout as before, but in a different look.
|■ N64||■ SNES||■ GBA||■ Wii|
|■ GCN||■ GBA||■ N64||■ GCN|
|N/A||■ N64||■ DS||■ SNES|
|N/A||■ GCN||N/A||■ N64|
|N/A||■ DS||N/A||■ GCN|
- *=Grand Prix track playable in battle mode