The Lightning Cup (referred to as the Thunder Cup in Mario Power Tennis and in the Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Mario Kart 7 instruction manuals) is a cup in the Mario Kart series, as well as Mario Power Tennis. Its first appearance is in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, in which it is placed between the Flower Cup and Star Cup, appearing as the third cup of that game. It is absent in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but appears since Mario Kart DS as the eighth and final cup, exclusively featuring classic courses and is the fourth and last retro cup overall. It is the only cup in the Mario Kart series to have been both a nitro cup and a retro cup. It mainly features courses from the Star Cup and the Special Cup, though Mario Kart DS features a sole course from the Mario Kart: Super Circuit Lightning Cup (GBA Sky Garden) and Mario Kart Wii features a sole Flower Cup course (SNES Mario Circuit 3). The length and difficulty of the courses in this cup tend to be on par with those in the Special Cup. In Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, the final course of the Lightning Cup is a past Rainbow Road, akin to the Special Cup's last course being a new Rainbow Road. The emblem of the cup is Lightning. In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it is the eighth cup overall; however, it is not the last cup because the four DLC cups (the Egg Cup, the Triforce Cup, the Crossing Cup, and the Bell Cup) are on the right side of the eight main cups.
Completion rewards in the Mario Kart series
Winning the Lightning Cup in the Mario Kart series can award the player with various bonuses, depending on the game. Additional cups unlocked are excluded from this list.
Mario Kart DS
- All retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) on 50cc: Daisy
- All retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) on 100cc: Waluigi
- All retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) or all nitro cups (excludes Lightning Cup) on 150cc: Seven karts for each playable character
- All cups on 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
- All retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) or all nitro cups (excludes Lightning Cup) on 150cc Mirror: R.O.B.
- All cups on 150cc Mirror: All karts for each playable character
Mario Kart Wii
- 50cc Lightning Cup: Diddy Kong
- 1 star rank or higher on all retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) on 50cc: Cheep Charger
- 100cc Lightning Cup: Zip Zip
- 1 star rank or higher on all retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) on 100cc: Bowser Jr.
- 150cc Lightning Cup: Honeycoupe
- 1 star rank or higher on all retro cups (includes Lightning Cup) on 150cc: Jetsetter
- All cups on 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
- Mirror Lightning Cup: Blue Falcon
- 1 star rank or higher on all cups on 150cc Mirror: Rosalina
Mario Kart 7
- All cups on a single cc class: Mii
- 150cc Lightning Cup: Lakitu
- All cups on 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc: 150cc Mirror class
Mario Kart 8
Most unlockable characters in Mario Kart 8 are unlocked at random upon winning Grand Prix cups (separate cups must be played to unlock characters), which includes the Lightning Cup. Characters that can be unlocked include Rosalina, Metal Mario, Lakitu, Toadette, Baby Rosalina, Pink Gold Peach, Iggy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Larry Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Ludwig von Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., and Mii. Mii is unlocked upon the eighth Grand Prix cup victory, unless an amiibo is used to unlock Mii beforehand.
In addition, the Gold Standard body can be unlocked by getting a 1 star rank or higher on all non-DLC cups (including the Lightning Cup) on any one engine class, and the 150cc Mirror class can be unlocked by winning all 150cc cups.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- 1 star rank or higher on all cups on 150cc Mirror: Gold Standard
- All cups on 200cc: Gold Mario
Mario Kart Wii trading card information
"You'll be glad to see that all four tracks in the Lightning Cup have made a big comeback! All feature updated graphics and all the fun you can handle. And two of them, GCN DK Mountain and N64 Bowser's Castle, offer up all the challenge you can handle!"
Names in other languages
|French||Coupe Éclair||Lightning Cup|
Trofeo Tuono (Mario Power Tennis)
Coppa tuono (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
|Portuguese (NOA)||Copa Relâmpago||Lightning Cup|
|Portuguese (NOE)||Taça Relâmpago||Lightning Cup|
|Spanish||Copa Centella||Spark Cup|
- The Lightning Cup is the only cup in Mario Kart: Super Circuit to not feature a Bowser's Castle course.
- Excluding cups introduced as DLC, Mario Kart 7's Lightning Cup is the only retro cup in the series not to have at least one course from Mario Kart 64, and the only Lightning Cup to feature multiple courses from the Special Cup.
- The Lightning Cup from Mario Kart: Super Circuit is one of three cups in the series to have all its courses return together in another Mario Kart game, as all of its tracks reappear in Mario Kart Tour. The other two cups are the Star Cup from Mario Kart Wii, which has all of its courses available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as a result of the Booster Course Pass, and the Mushroom Cup from Mario Kart 7, which also has all of its courses return in Tour.
- Additionally, its courses were added to Tour in reverse chronological order compared to the original cup. Sunset Wilds debuted in 2020's Sunset Tour, Cheep-Cheep Island debuted in the 2021 Summer Tour, Sky Garden debuted in 2022's Sky Tour, and Luigi Circuit debuted in the 2023 Mario vs. Luigi Tour. This situation also applies to the Star Cup from Wii.