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The 100cc Mushroom Cup Grand Prix as seen in Mario Kart Wii.

A Grand Prix (also called GP) is a mode found in all Mario Kart games to date. It involves a race through each of the four races in one of the game's cups against computer-controlled racers and is 1-player only. In Mario Kart: Double Dash!! until Mario Kart 7, 2 players can participate in the Grand Prix while in Mario Kart 8, four players can compete in the GP.

Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart's GP is different from the way the GP is now in games such as Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart DS. In this game, the player has three lives. When racing in GP, the player must get 4th place or higher to continue onto the next course. If he/she gets 5th or lower, he/she must retry the course again and cannot go to the next round until the player makes it in 4th place or higher in the current course. If the player retries, he/she will lose a life when retrying. If all three lives are lost, the game is over. There are 8 racers (including the player) in GP.

There are three cc modes the player can play this at: 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. 150cc was unlockable, and wasn't standard until the following game, Mario Kart 64. Unlike the rest of the games in the series, every course in this game has five laps (almost every single course in the rest of the series has three laps).

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64's GP is slightly different than Super Mario Kart's GP, but is one of the closest to the same than basically any other Mario Kart game in the Mario Kart series except for Mario Kart: Super Circuit. One thing that is the same is that just like Super Mario Kart, the player must retry if he/she passes the finish line in a position 5th place or lower. The player must end up in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place to move on to the next course. Lives were taken out of the game, so there is no "Game Over." Because of this, the player can retry as many times as he/she wants.

A new cc option was also added in, being 150cc. Another cc was also added in and was unlockable after finishing all the cups in 150cc in a good place. This choice is Mirror Mode. Mirror Mode is where 150cc combines with tracks that are now visually switched. For example, if one course originally has a turn going right, the turn now goes left (because it is switched to the opposite side).

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

This game's GP is also much like Super Mario Kart. Again, there are three lives. And again, if in 5th place or lower, the player must retry the current course. If all three lives are lost, the player is unable to retry. Like the previous two games, there are again 8 places. Rankings began in this game. The rankings start at E (which is horrible) and can go all the way up to three stars (best). There is also Extra Cups. Extra Cups have courses from the original Super Mario Kart. These courses are much like the Retro Cups that debuted in Mario Kart DS.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

This game is the very first game to have very big changes. Unlike the three before this one, this game included Special Items and all new characters (that appeared in other Mario games but never in the Mario Kart series).

Also, two characters are on one kart. One drives and one throws the items. Two players can play this way. The first player drives and the second player throws items. Not just this, but a character didn't have just one kart to use, but several.

There was a variety of choices of karts to use, many being unlockable. Most of these new things continue on into the next couple of games in the series. Again, there are seven other racing teams other than the player playing, and again there are the four cc choices: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and Mirror Mode (unlockable).

A new cup was added in, called the All Cup Tour. It includes all 16 courses from all 4 cups. Luigi Circuit is always at the beginning of the cup and Rainbow Road is always last. All the courses in between are mixed up every time the player plays the cup, so the order is never exactly the same.

Also, unlike the previous three games, if the player gets in a bad place, he/she cannot retry and has to continue on to the next course. This feature continues to appear, as the retrying feature has not been seen since.

A new item that will also move on to the following games debuts here too, called the Spiny Shell/Blue Shell. In Mario Kart 64, there was a spiny shell that was more dangerous than a Red Shell and would take out many characters in front of the player. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! changed the way it is used. Wings were added to the shell, and if the shell was thrown, it would fly across the course until it got to 1st place, and would home-in on 1st and blow the character up, making the character go flying up in the air. It does not hit other players on its way to 1st place, but anyone close to 1st place when it hits him/her will also be effected by the explosion.

Mario Kart DS

In Mario Kart DS, completing a Grand Prix results in a rating, from three stars to one star, to A, to E. Completing all eight Cups at 150cc unlocks a fourth variation: 150cc mirror, wherein all tracks are horizontally reversed. This game was the first to have Retro Cups in it: Banana Cup, Shell Cup, Leaf Cup, and Lightning Cup. There are 32 courses and 8 cups.

Mario Kart Wii

The sixth game in the series added new features to the Grand Prixs. Unlike all the previous games in the series, there are twelve racers at one time, unlike the previous eight. If an 11th place racer passes the finish line, then the racer in 12th place automatically stops, and the race is over. The Retro Cups reappear; with the same name for each cup as Mario Kart DS, but includes new courses. All four cc's appear again in this game. There are 32 courses and 8 cups.

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 had similar Grand Prix features as Mario Kart Wii, but went back to the traditional eight places rather than twelve, and Coins returned, after not being seen since Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Retro Cups return again in this game. There are 32 courses and 8 cups in this game as well.

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 also includes the mode and this time, up to four players an compete in the Grand Prix. The twelve player races from Mario Kart Wii returned. There are 48 courses and 12 cups in this game as well in five cc classes. It introduces the crazy-fast 200cc engine class.

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