The Special Cup is the final cup of each game in Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, as well as the last of the Nitro Cups since Mario Kart DS. In Mario Kart: Super Circuit is it the last of the "standard" courses, with the Extra Cups being unlocked afterwards and Extra Special Cup being the final cup. The Special Cup consists of long, challenging courses with lots of gimmicks and harder difficulties. Notably, this cup always culminates with Rainbow Road as the game's climactic course. Starting in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Bowser's Castle is the penultimate course before Rainbow Road.
Aside from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe where the cup is available from the start, the criteria to unlock the Special Cup varies by game, although in all the games, the Star Cup must be completed successfully. In Super Mario Kart, the player may unlock it by winning all three cups in 100cc (though it will be unavailable for the 50cc class); in Mario Kart: Super Circuit it is available by winning the four previous cups, each by class; in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, it appears after the player finished first in the Star Cup in 100cc; from Mario Kart DS onwards, it is unlocked once the player claims a trophy in the Star Cup.
The emblem of the Special Cup is a smiling crown, which first appeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. In the previous installments, the emblem is completely different, for instance, in Super Mario Kart, this cup lacks a unique emblem and instead uses a combination of the three emblems for the Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, and Star Cup respectively; and in Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, it is represented by the letter "S", the initial of "special."
List of Courses
|Games||Course 1||Course 2||Course 3||Course 4||Course 5|
|Super Mario Kart||Donut Plains 3||Koopa Beach 2||Ghost Valley 3||Vanilla Lake 2||Rainbow Road|
|Mario Kart 64||D.K.'s Jungle Parkway||Yoshi Valley||Banshee Boardwalk||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart: Super Circuit||Lakeside Park||Broken Pier||Bowser Castle 4||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart: Double Dash!!||Wario Colosseum||Dino Dino Jungle||Bowser's Castle||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart DS||Wario Stadium||Peach Gardens||Bowser's Castle||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart Wii||Dry Dry Ruins||Moonview Highway||Bowser's Castle||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart 7||DK Jungle||Rosalina's Ice World||Bowser's Castle||Rainbow Road||N/A|
|Mario Kart 8/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||Cloudtop Cruise||Bone Dry Dunes||Bowser's Castle||Rainbow Road||N/A|
Special Cup is a smiling, gold trophy-like cup appeared in all of the Mario Kart games. It always end with Rainbow Road. It always has Bowser's Castle above Rainbow Road but in SMK and MK64, Bowser's Castle is replaced by Ghost Valley 3 and Banshee Boardwalk. MKSC has Bowser's Castle but has figure 4 at the end. All of their courses are extremely long, huge and difficult but the player might think they are interesting.
Mario Tennis series
The Special Cup reappears in Mario Tennis Open. In this game, it is called the Champions Cup. It is the last cup in the World Open tournament series. Players can unlock this cup when they clear the Banana Cup. When players clear this cup, their character earns a star rank, which boosts their stats and grants them access to the Star Open tournament series. The Champions Cup takes place in Mario Stadium, with the hard, clay, and grass courts being used for the starting, semifinal, and final rounds respectively. Matches for this cup have one set for the starting round, three sets for the semifinals, and five sets for the finals.
In Mario Tennis Aces, a trophy based on the Special Cup appears as a reward in online tournaments.
Trading Card info
"Two Special Cup tracks, Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road, have been Special Cup stalwarts. This time around the names may be the same, but the layouts are new & improved—and they're no cakewalk. In fact, these could be some of the most difficult tracks in Mario Kart Wii."
- In Super Mario Kart, in Time Trial and VS. Mode, the player can access the Special Cup before unlocking it by pressing buttons in this sequence: l, r, l, r, l, l, r, r, and a.
- In the Chinese version of Mario Kart 64, the Special Cup is called the "iQue Cup", named after of the home console iQue Player, which is not available outside China.
- If Grand Prix mode in Mario Kart Wii is highlighted, the Special Cup trophy from that game can be seen in the background.