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"Speed. I am speed."
Lightning McQueen, Cars

Anthony Montgomery "Lightning" McQueen is the main character of the Cars series. He appears in almost every main installment of the Cars series, with the only exceptions being media based on the Planes series. He is a Piston Cup race car that has won 7[1] Piston Cups since his debut in the 2006 season. Lightning resides in the small town of Radiator Springs in Carburetor County, where he has his own racing headquarters, as well as his own stadium. He is 41 years old as of 2017.[2], therefore he is 47 years old in 2021.

Creation and development

Concept art of McQueen.

During research for the first film, John Lasseter and General Motors designers met to discuss the updated Corvette design, which Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks were originally intended to be based on. However, changes to the plot resulted in both characters being left as generic stock racers. According to production designer Bob Pauley, Lightning's final design used elements from GT40s and Chargers, among many other models, to reflect his personality and role. Originally, Lightning's number was 57, John Lasseter's birthyear.

Athletic figures such as boxer Muhammad Ali and football quarterback Joe Namath were looked to during development of McQueen's personality, as well as popular musician Kid Rock, in order to create a cocky-but-likable character. Additionally, Michael Jordan was also looked to by the designers, due to his unique style of playing his sport.



McQueen in his early racing days.

Towards the start of his racing career, McQueen raced under sponsorship of Smell Swell Deodorizer. However, he was dropped from the label in favor of another young racer named Sammy Smelter, whose poor racing fit the image of Smell Swell better, according to the representative who fired McQueen.

Mack, who had overheard McQueen's termination, approached the young hotshot and offered to take him to Boston to meet for a job opportunity with Rust-eze, who had been looking, with little success, for a new spokescar. During their trip, McQueen and Mack became fast friends. Upon their arrival in Boston, Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze offered a sponsorship to McQueen. Though he was initially hesitant due to the sponsor's humiliating demeanor, McQueen agreed as long as Mack could become his transporter.[3]

McQueen's racing abilities eventually garnered the attention of the Piston Cup Racing Series, and he became a rookie in the championship's 2006 season.


Lightning in the Dinoco 400.

In Cars, the film opens at the Motor Speedway of the South, where cocky and self-centred Lightning McQueen is competing in the Dinoco 400 for the title of the Piston Cup champion. After a three-way tie between him, seven-time champion Strip Weathers and consistent runner-up Chick Hicks, McQueen makes a bet with Chick, where the first one to reach the tie-breaker race at the Los Angeles International Speedway wins the DINOCO sponsorship. Desperate to win, McQueen rushes to Mack, who forces him to make an appearance at his sponsor's tent, which McQueen hates. Soon, the two are on the road, and McQueen urges Mack to drive through the night, without resting. A sleepy Mack is later harassed by a gang of delinquents, who accidentally open McQueen's trailer and unknowingly release him.

Lightning mistakes another truck for Mack.

Lightning wakes up in the middle of the highway and quickly tries to catch up with Mack. However, after mistaking a Peterbilt truck for him, McQueen figures his best option is to search for help on the Interstate. McQueen rushes past a sleeping police officer named Sheriff, who chases him through the town. Scared, McQueen accidentally rips up the road with a statue of the town's founder, which ultimately lands him in the town's impound. When he wakes in the morning, he discovers he is in the deserted town of Radiator Springs, Arizona, where the embarrised residents sentence him to community service and make him fix the road by pulling a road paver named Bessie.

Lightning races at Willy's Butte.

Persistent of making it to Los Angeles before Chick, Lightning first attempts to escape, but runs out of gas and is returned to the town, where he tries to fix the road quickly. The residents feel disrespected due to the rushed bumpy road, and Doc Hudson, the town's lawyer and doctor, challenges him to a road race, which Lightning loses, due to lack of familiarity with dirt tracks.

McQueen learns of Hudson's past.

Though initially hesitant to affiliate himself with the townsfolk, Lightning ends up making friends with the residents, particularly the absent-minded Mater, and the beautiful attorney Sally Carrera, whom Lightning quickly gains a crush on. After learning of the history behind both the town and Doc Hudson, who was previously a famous Piston Cup dirt track racer,  Lightning begins to marvel at Doc's skill and the certain racing tricks that Doc knows. After taking a drive with Sally, Lightning finds Doc out at Willy's Butte. Later, McQueen finishes the road, and while the townsfolk originally think he left without saying goodbyes, McQueen surprises the residents by arriving and asking for a new paint job and new tires. That night, while enjoying a "cruise" with the residents, the Press find McQueen and take him away to the tie-breaker race.

"Pit stop."

At the race, McQueen is surprised to see his Radiator Springs friends have arrived to serve as his racing team and Doc as his crew chief and with the help of his team, especially Guido, who performs the quickest pit stop in Piston Cup history, Lightning finds himself well ahead of Chick and The King. However, sick of constantly coming in second, Chick performs a PIT maneuver on Weathers, causing him to spin out and crash. When McQueen remembers Doc's words about winning, Lightning gives up his victory and instead decides to help Strip to the finish line so that Strip can finish his final race, much to the happiness of the fans. Though Chick technically won the race, he is ignored and instead, fans congratulate McQueen. Lightning decides to permanently establish Radiator Springs as his hometown, and the publicity sparks great interest in the town.

Cars: The Video Game

Lightning in Cars: The Video Game.

In Cars: The Video Game, which takes place in 2006, one year after the events of Cars, Lightning McQueen appears as the central character of the game's story mode, as well as the car that the player takes control of throughout the majority of the game. In this game, McQueen finds himself at the beginning of a new Piston Cup season, where Mack asks McQueen to obtain some practice before the first race, and he turns to the Radiator Springs citizens for help. After a few races, Mack and McQueen travel to the first race of the season, where Chick, who Lightning previously spotted observing him practicing, greets him. Upon Lightning's victory, Chick begins to seek additional help to sabotage McQueen's chances.

Lightning meets New York racers Vince, Sonny, Lenny and Barry.

After more practicing and another Piston Cup race, Lightning meets and challenges a gang of race cars from Queens, New York, who later reveal themselves to be allies of Chick. Still not satisfied, Chick continues to search for help, and meets with the same gang of tuner cars who had messed with McQueen the year earlier. The four cars are hired to rob Mack of McQueen's goods while he is on the Interstate, but McQueen manages to obtain them again by stealing it all back from the cars on the highway, who are then captured and subsequently arrested. They reveal themselves to be under hire of Chick, who Lightning later confronts at the Smasherville International Speedway. There, Lightning declares a three-race "Radiator Springs Grand Prix" event to determine who is the better competitor, an event that is supported by the Piston Cup.

McQueen wins the 2006 Piston Cup season.

After defeating Chick in all three races, McQueen then manages to win the championship, and upon his return to Radiator Springs, his trophy is put with Doc's three trophies from his past inside of the clinic.

Lightning also appears as a playable character in the Arcade and Versus modes. He has relatively high statistics in comparison to other characters, and also has the most paint jobs out of all characters.

Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures

Lightning training in Sarge's Boot Camp

Lightning is the main character in Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures. In this game, Lightning must help the residents of Radiator Springs by assisting them with their daily jobs. There are ten additional paint jobs that can be unlocked for McQueen, each one obtained by the player beating their fastest time on each of the default ten minigames.

Mater and the Ghostlight

Mater scares McQueen.

In Mater and the Ghostlight, McQueen is one of the many who fall victim to Mater's pranks. While talking to Sally at Flo's V8 Café, McQueen inspects a pile of cans in the shape of Mater, but once he gets closer, Mater bursts through the stack, scaring McQueen. Mater teases Lightning, claiming he looks as if he has seen the Ghostlight. Sheriff warns Mater not to joke about the Ghostlight, and everyone listens as Sheriff tells a story about the mysterious creature. When Sheriff finishes, everyone hurries to sleep, leaving Mater alone in the streets.

Mater returns home, paranoid about the Ghostlight. Once he reaches his garage, he discovers a blue light behind him, and Mater starts frantically driving around Radiator Springs. Unbeknownst to Mater, the light is actually just a lamp that McQueen and Guido placed on his tow hook as payback for his pranks.

Once Mater loses his breath, he slows down and realizes the light is merely a lamp. McQueen and the other residents tease him, before hurriedly heading to sleep once more.

Cars: Mater-National Championship

Lightning on the character select screen in Cars: Mater-National Championship.

In Cars: Mater-National Championship, the direct sequel to Cars: The Video Game, Lightning is again the player character throughout the majority of the game's story mode. In this game, Lightning meets a variety of new opponents, including Italian Ferrari Giovanni, cocky German champion Otto Von Fassenbottom, Swedish jokester Gudmund, English rally car Emma, and Japanese drift racer Koji, who have arrived in Radiator Springs to compete in the Mater-National series of events, hosted by McQueen and Mater. Lightning also meets British tourist Philip and Russian challenger Yuri, who are simply visiting the town to compete in the various races.

Lightning also appears as a playable character in the game's Arcade and Versus modes, again with high statistics in comparison to the other vehicles, and a large number of paint jobs, eight of which can be obtained by collecting them at various locations in the game's explorable hub in story mode.

Cars Toons

Rescue Squad Mater

Lightning is rescued from the burning building.

In Rescue Squad Mater, Lightning and Mater drive past Red while he is watering his flowers, which reminds Mater of his career as a fire truck. As soon as reports of endangered vehicles would come in, Mater would immediately race to the scene, and do whatever he could to save others from fires. Mater tells McQueen that even he was saved by Mater once - after being rescued from a burning building, Lightning was rushed to the hospital for treatment toward his burns, and was operated on by none other than Mater, who also happened to be a doctor.

When Lightning questions the authenticity of this tale, Mater's former nurse, Nurse GTO, drives by the pair and greets Mater, leaving Lightning in disbelief.

Mater the Greater

In Mater the Greater, Mater tells Lightning the story of how he was once a daredevil who performed a variety of dangerous stunts, including jumping over a wide group of rusty cars, jumping through a ring of fire, diving into a small kiddie pool, and hanging on to an airplane as it made lots of sudden movements. Mater's greatest stunt, however, was jumping an enormous crater called Carburetor Canyon, which Lightning also participated in. Lightning drove down a very long ramp while being propelled by a rocket strapped to his trunk, and despite coming close, he didn't make it. Lightning objects and accuses Mater of telling a tale tale, until Lug and Nutty, Mater's assistants, drive by them.

El Materdor

Lightning in his Matador attire.

In El Materdor, Lightning and Mater are strolling through the bulldozer pasture, which leads Mater into a story of his days as a matador. Mater would constantly put his life at risk for the entertainment of others, by battling bulldozers. When Lightning questions this, Mater tells Lightning he was there too, and easily attracted the bulldozers due to his red paint scheme. When Lightning objects, he is then chased by a group of bulldozers, who have somehow escaped from their pasture.

Tokyo Mater

In Tokyo Mater, after Sheriff begins pursuit of three hooligans who drift past the Radiator Springs residents at Flo's V8 Café, Mater tells everyone about his career as a drift racer. After towing a car to Tokyo, he is challenged to a drift race by Kabuto, and is subsequently modified to look more modern. During the race, Mater goes off-course and finds himself in a halfpipe, where cranes are lifting heavy objects. Suddenly, Lightning Dragon McQueen appears, and helps Mater navigate through the maze of objects and back onto course. Unlike in most other Cars Toons shorts, no evidence is provided to validate Mater's tale.

Unidentified Flying Mater

In Unidentified Flying Mater, Mater tells McQueen a story of how he met a UFO named Mator. However, Mator was captured by the government and studied, until Mater managed to break in and save him. When the two make their escape, Lightning joins them, but they are soon taken aboard a large UFO that is revealed to be Mator's mother. She drops them off in Radiator Springs, and Mator and his mother return home. As always, Lightning doubts this happened, but after McQueen leaves, Mater manages to fly again, just like how Mator taught him to.

Monster Truck Mater

In Monster Truck Mater, Mater's story this time is about his monster truck career; he was once a famous monster truck wrestler nicknamed "The Tormentor." While Mater fought many tough opponents, the biggest threat he faced was a giant construction vehicle named Dr. Frankenwagon's Monster. When Lightning curiously asks what happened, Mater tells him he was there as well, on a tag-team with Mater. The two managed to defeat the monster by flipping the ring over and on top of him.

Heavy Metal Mater

Lightning as a rock star.

In Heavy Metal Mater, Mater tells Lightning a story of how he was once a popular heavy metal artist; after producing the hit Dad Gum, Mater's band, titled Heavy Metal Mater, began to play live shows, with Lightning as the keyboardist. Right after Lightning objects, both of them look up to see a giant Mater balloon floating above them, the same one that Mater claimed would often be flown above the stage while they performed.

Moon Mater

Lightning in space.

In Moon Mater, Lightning plays a role in Mater's tale about how he became an astronaut and helped stranded agent Impala XIII, in which he is seen traveling down to the earth at incredible speeds, and eventually catches ablaze, before landing in the ocean. The rescue of the endangered astronaut makes the headlines, and Lightning, Mater, and Impala XIII are interviewed by newspapers and television shows. Despite McQueen's denial, Roger, Mater's shuttle, arrives and tells him he must go on another mission, and the two blast off into outer space, leaving Lightning in disbelief.

Mater Private Eye

In Mater Private Eye, Lt. McQueen and his assistants arrest Big D, after Mater discovers that he and his henchman have been manufacturing counterfeit tires. As always, Lightning denies any truth in Mater's detective story, Carmen, one of the cars Mater mentioned in his story, arrives and starts a conga dance, which Mater follows.

Air Mater

In Air Mater, Mater informs Lightning of his supposed relationship with popular air performers The Falcon Hawks, and how he filled in for one of the performers when his wing was damaged. However, during the performance, Mater's wings break, and he begins to fall. However, Lightning McQueen Hawk saves him, and subsequently assists him in the big finish, by throwing Mater up into the air, and then catching him and safely landing. As McQueen objects, Mater receives a recruitment call from the Falcon Hawks, and they arrive to pick him up.

Time Travel Mater

Lightning with the Mater from the past and Mater from the present.

In Time Travel Mater, Mater travels back in time and finds himself face-to-face with Stanley, prior to Radiator Springs' foundation. Stanley asks him whether or not he would like to purchase a hubcap and, when Mater's rejects the offer, Stanley decides to leave the oasis. Realizing what will happen if Stanley doesn't found Radiator Springs, Mater returns to the present to get Lightning, and the two go back to the past.

However, things do not go as planned - Lizzie begins to fall in love with Lightning, so the two have to make sure that Stanley and Lizzie meet and get married, in order to save the future from being rewritten. Lizzie and Stanley eventually marry, and Radiator Springs is successfully founded.


In Hiccups, Lightning acquires a case of the hiccups, and the others at Flo's V8 Café attempt to cure him. Guido suggests holding his breath, but Guido faints, and when Lightning starts to breathe in, he realizes the method was not successful. Luigi tries to scare the hiccups away, Sarge tries to order the hiccups away, and Sheriff tells Red to spray water into McQueen's mouth. However, the only method that works is Sally's, who simply kisses him.


In Spinning, when Luigi orders Guido to spin a sign outside of the tire shop, Lightning and the other Radiator Springs residents and passersby notice his talents, and a large crowd forms.

The Radiator Springs 500½

Lightning dressed as Stanley.

In The Radiator Springs 500½, McQueen dresses up as Stanley for the town's annual "Stanley Days" celebration, planning to do a leisurely drive with the townsfolk, until a group of Baja racers led by Sandy Dunes arrive to challenge him to a race, which he gets customized for off-road racing. However, during the race, McQueen and the other racers take a wrong turn after Mater confused them with saying that left is right when he actually meant that it is correct. Following this, they go over bumpy hills and a cliff, drive through a cactus patch, get covered in soot from some tailpipes in a cavern, and come across a spooky forest, where they get frightened by all of the corpses scattered around, before arriving back in Radiator Springs.

The World of Cars Online

In The World of Cars Online, Lightning could often be found outside of his racing headquarters, allowing players to shop inside of the store. He was also a playable character in the Lightning Storm McQueen minigame, in which he, with the help of Luke Pettlework, would fight against the Zurg Train.

Cars: Race-O-Rama

Lightning Mcqueen in Cars: The Video Game

In Cars: Race-O-Rama, Lightning is helping out at the Doc Hudson Racing Academy, and is racing against them in a competition at Radiator Springs Speedway. After Lightning sees how the green racers are behaving, he confronts them, only to find out that they are being trained by none other than Chick Hicks. As the story continues on, Lightning meets more of Chick's goons, who he befriends after they turn on Chick and apologize for their rude behavior.

In arcade mode, Lightning is unlocked as a playable character from the start of the game. Additionally, various other versions of Lightning can be unlocked, including his "beach racer" attire and his "off-road racer" attire.

Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales: The Video Game

In Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales: The Video Game, Lightning appears in all of the sets of minigames.

Cars 2

In Cars 2, Lightning McQueen returns, but as the deuteragonist.


Lightning returns to Radiator Springs from his latest Piston Cup racing season, and is happily greeted by all of the townsfolk, especially Mater, who takes him on various activities. After a long day of messing around with Mater, Lightning tells him that he would like some quiet time with Sally at the Wheel Well Motel. Feeling left out, Mater poses as a waiter at the motel, but while attempting to prepare their orders, Mater is distracted by the Mel Dorado Show on one of the televisions, which is currently featuring Italian champion Francesco Bernoulli, who begins to trashtalk Lightning. Mater calls into the show to argue, and manages to secure Lightning a spot in the World Grand Prix, a series of three worldwide races, hosted by oil baron Miles Axlerod.

Lightning's new paint job and body style.

In preparation, Ramone gives Lightning a fancy new paint job and spoiler, and Lightning, Mater, Luigi, Guido, Sarge, and Fillmore set off for Tokyo, which is where the welcome party is being hosted, as well as the first race. On the journey, McQueen and Mater are enjoying their time together: watching a game show on their plane's television, amazed by Tokyo's neon signs, and attending a karate show. At the opening ceremony, McQueen meets up with fellow racers Lewis Hamilton and Jeff Gorvette, but he soon notices that Mater has been acting the same since living in Radiator Springs, and tries to explain that he should change his behavior so to get used to all the different things outside Radiator Springs. However, Mater does not completely understand, deciding to help McQueen by introducing him to Italian racer Francesco Bernoulli. Although reluctant by this, McQueen is forced to mention to Francesco that it is an honor for them to meet. They both agree to have a toast, but both of them make the same dedication of their own win in the initial race to Sally. Lightning is later asked to take the stage with Axlerod, but the interview is interrupted when Mater, who has just consumed a high amount of wasabi, bursts onto the stage, and drinks water from the display. Embarrassed, Mater is surprised to find out that he has leaked oil, and quickly hurries to the bathroom to clean up. However, an American secret agent who is being assaulted places his tracking beacon onto Mater. British agent Holley Shiftwell meets Mater, and he thinks that she is asking him out on a date.

Moments before the first race begins, McQueen makes his usual preparations, closing his eyes and talking to himself about keeping focus, only for Francesco to immediately mock him by making the same preparations. Annoyed, McQueen once again comments about his goal to beat Francesco. As the race begins, McQueen makes his way up the field, getting up to second place and behind Francesco. However, McQueen is not able to get past Francesco until they come up to the dirt section, where Mater, who is working as McQueen's crew chief, gives him the advice of using the same trick Doc had taught him. With Francesco struggling to drive on the dirt, McQueen makes an easy pass at the following chicane and takes the lead. However, drama occurs as a couple of the racecars flame out, leaving fans wondering if allinol is responsible for the accidents. Next, McQueen begins hearing random words from Mater through his team radio, unaware that Mater is actually talking to someone else. Still being confused by Mater's words, McQueen moves to the outside of the loop up to Rainbow Bridge, enabling Francesco to snatch the lead. Shocked by what happened, McQueen goes after Francesco and goes side-by-side with him as they head towards the finish line. However, Francesco is able to cross the finish line first, while McQueen suddenly spins out and finishes Third.

Feeling bossy, McQueen is left wondering why this all happened, as Francesco brags during the podium interview about making a move whenever someone makes a mistake. Just then, McQueen notices Mater driving to the pits, and when no one is looking, he drives out of the podium interview and meets up with Mater, asking him why he was talking nonsense throughout the race. Mater explains that he had been away from the track because he heard a woman's voice talking to him out of nowhere and directing him through the streets, where he had seen a couple of cars involved in a fight and using flame-throwers. McQueen becomes mad, telling Mater that it is all his fault for making him fail the race and that he should not have brought him along so he could spend time imagining a girlfriend and watching people using flame-throwers in fights. Realizing what McQueen meant, Mater tries to make up by suggesting to talk to someone about what happened, but McQueen is growling, berating poor Mater by saying that he wouldn't need his help from him at all. poor Mater sadly gulped, and decides to return home, and heads to the Tokyo airport (unbeknownst to McQueen and his team). However, at the airport, Finn McMissile, who thinks Mater is a spy, leads him away from the line and introduces himself. However, two lemons named Grem and Acer, who are on the lookout for McMissile, spot him, and the two make an escape on Siddeley, Finn's plane.

Meanwhile, Team McQueen finds a note from Mater saying that he has decided to head back home following his argument with McQueen, not wanting to be responsible ever again for making him losing any future races. However, McQueen begins to feel down, as he did not mean for Mater to leave. Despite being relieved that he would know Mater would be safe being in Radiator Springs, McQueen still feels down, thinking that he should not have been too hard on him. Arriving in Italy, McQueen and his team come across Luigi and Guido's old hometown, Carsoli, where the latter two are proud to be reunited with Uncle and Mama Topolino. The whole village hosts a celebration of Luigi and Guido's return, but Uncle Topolino begins to notice how down McQueen is. Having been told the whole thing by Luigi, Uncle Topolino explains to McQueen that everyone, even best friends, get into fights, as he remembers Luigi and Guido fighting all the time when they used to live with him.

Meanwhile, many of the fans of the World Grand Prix are still wondering if allinol is safe, leading to Axlerod telling them that the fuel has been examined and is proven to be safe, leaving the second race to remain, taking place in Porto Corsa. However, Team McQueen begin to notice that McQueen feels sad. Fillmore advises him not to worry about his fuel, but McQueen admits that he is actually missing Mater. Furthermore, he gets insulted by Francesco saying that he is glad to be at home with his mother and fans. As the race goes ahead, Francesco soars into the lead as McQueen follows, trying to make numerous moves such as at the town's hairpin. On the final lap, McQueen temporarily leads, but as they approach the finish line, he and Francesco begin fighting for the lead, ending with McQueen crossing the finish line just ahead of Francesco. With this, McQueen celebrates his victory, but it immediately ends as numerous ambulances rush past, making McQueen and Francesco notice on the television screen that the other racecars have involved a large crash, created by Grem and Acer's electromagentic pulse camera, which blows their engines.This leads to everyone now completely concerned about its safety, which makes Axlerod decide that the last race in London will still be held, but no longer to be run on Allinol.

McQueen, however, feels that it is impossible for something like that to occur, furthermore declaring that he will be using Allinol for the final race. Meanwhile, Mater, who has infiltrated the Lemons' meeting, watches in horror as they pick their next target, McQueen. Revealing himself, Mater uses his spy tools to escape. Soon, as a press liaison is leading him to the press, McQueen starts to hear Mater's voice from somewhere in the crowd. Taking another look, he sees a flash of Mater's roof in the distance, while the photographers try to get his attention. Trying to get closer, McQueen moves through the crowd, as the press liaison calls out to come back. However, as all the photographers finally move out of the way, McQueen instead finds a blue tow truck known as Ivan, saying that it was him who called out. As the press liaison takes him away, McQueen starts to get confused, pretty sure that he saw and heard Mater in the crowd. Before heading to London, McQueen contacts Radiator Springs so to talk to Mater, but he finds out that Mater had not been there at all. As he comes to his pit stall, he finds Sally and the rest of his friends present, having heard about what happened. While Sarge leaves with Sheriff to search for Mater, the rest of the townsfolk stay behind to assist McQueen in the race. However, still feeling concerned about Mater, McQueen is unsure about if he can keep his focus on the race, but Axlerod comes to thank him for his decision to use allinol, encouraging him to prove to the world that they had been wrong about it being unsafe. Plus, Sally advises him to do the race for Mater.

As the race begins, Francesco gets into the lead as they head up to the Victoria Memorial, but after they go through Admiralty Arch, McQueen snatches the lead. As McQueen soon comes in for his pit stop, he is glad to find Mater already there. However, in a panic, Mater drives onto the racetrack, ordering McQueen to keep away from him. Misunderstanding, McQueen chases after Mater, trying to tell him that what he said before no longer matters. Still panicking, Mater yells out that "he's the bomb", making McQueen believe that he is saying he is excellent. Again, Mater yells out to keep away, but McQueen refuses to listen, not wanting to lose Mater again, and grabs onto his tow hook, which causes Mater to activate a pair of rocket jets, making the two friends zoom along the track's straight, past a shocked Francesco, and go off the circuit at the following corner, zooming through the streets of London. However, McQueen declines Mater's request to let go, still not understanding what is going on. 

As the two friends finally screech to a halt, British secret agents Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell arrive, convincing McQueen that some thugs had planted a bomb on Mater so that they could try and kill them both, all because of McQueen's decision to use allinol in the race. McQueen is left wondering who would do that to Mater, to which Finn brings in a captive Professor Zündapp, who angrily questions about his electromagnetic pulse generator not working right. McQueen is now left completely shocked by the fact that Zündapp had been having those same thugs try to kill him with the emitter when it was supposed to come into contact with allinol, only that he did not explode when the plan was being performed. Finn demands answers from Zündapp about how to deactivate the bomb, and as the bomb begins to tick, Zündapp reveals that the only way to turn it off is to get a voice command from the person who turned it on in the first place. To make matters worse, the thugs, who reveal themselves as lemons, block any chance of McQueen, Mater, Finn, and Holley escaping, but they are soon taken out by McQueen and Mater's friends. Sarge arrives with the British Military who presumably take the villains away.

Lightning flies with Mater.

With the lemons arrested, everyone tries to figure out a way to get rid of the bomb. Thinking of only one option, Guido makes an attempt to unfasten the bolts, but his wheel gun would not fit. Then, Mater figures out who had put the bomb on, but he does not reveal it straight away, worried that no one will believe him, but McQueen encourages him, telling him to just be his regular self and that anyone not believing him should instead change themselves, not Mater himself. With no time to lose, Mater grabs McQueen and heads off to Buckingham Palace, where Axlerod is waiting with the Queen of England. With the Queen's bodyguards preventing Mater from getting any closer, Mater explains to them, McQueen, Finn and Holley that Axlerod is the one who activated the bomb, remembering that the bomb is attached with the same bolts used on an old engine shown on a photo that Finn and Holley had got, also that old engines contain oil. Axlerod, however, tries to tell everyone that none of this is true, but Mater keeps on talking, saying that Axlerod is the leader of Professor Zündapp and the lemons, trying to make the world dismiss alternative fuel and buy regular oil from a secret oil reserve, because they had been laughed at for their entire lives. As the bomb gets closer to detonation, everyone braces themselves, while Axlerod tries to take Mater's comments as lies, but as he is encountered by Mater, he is forced to make a voice command, which successfully turns off the bomb, and proves that Mater was right about everything.

To congratulate his bravery, the Queen makes Mater a knight, which also makes him as popular as his best friend McQueen. As they arrive back in Radiator Springs, Mater tells McQueen and their friends about how he met Finn and Holley and helped them to learn information about Professor Zündapp and the lemons. Just then, Finn and Holley arrive, paying Mater and his friends a visit. McQueen is also given the time to ask how come he did not explode when the lemons were using their EMP emitter on him in London, but Finn and Holley point out that they do not know the reason, but also found out that allinol was just gasoline upgraded by Axlerod to blow up when coming into contact with an electromagnetic pulse. McQueen then begins to realize that Fillmore had told him back in Italy that allinol was safe, and everyone assumes that something had been done to McQueen's supply of allinol before the race. Fillmore does note that before the race, McQueen's supply was replaced by his own organic fuel, but that Sarge actually did it, not Fillmore.

Later, McQueen invites all of the World Grand Prix racers to compete in Radiator Springs' unofficial Grand Prix, as a way to treat them to a great race, even knowing that thanks to the fate of the World Grand Prix, still no one knows who is the fastest in the world. Before lining up on the grid, McQueen has Francesco meet Sally, who is honored by Francesco's comment about McQueen being very lucky to be racing, especially when racing against his rivals. Not long before the race, McQueen adds to Sally to wish him luck, to which Sally knows he will be lucky enough to win. This time, McQueen and Francesco are calmer towards each other, both having grins as they battle for the lead, while the other racers are enjoying it. Not long after, Mater joins in, having been given his rocket jets by Finn and Holley, and he and McQueen happily race each other to the end of the Radiator Springs Grand Prix, as Finn and Holley leave for their next mission.

Cars 2: The Video Game

Lightning in the garage.

In Cars 2: The Video Game, Lightning is a playable character, and is one of the ten characters unlocked from the beginning the game. He also has two other skins, Carbon Fiber Lightning, which can be unlocked by earning the "Agent - Third Class" crest, and Radiator Lightning, which can be unlocked by earning the "Runway Pancake" crest. Additionally, Lightning has two more downloadable costumes that can be purchased from the Xbox or PlayStation stores; Dragon Lightning and Daredevil Lightning.

Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure

In Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, Lightning is an unlockable playable character, that can be unlocked by obtaining all four Buddy Coins that are hidden in the three Cars levels.

He also appears in the first Cars level, Fancy Drivin', where he is looking for a new car for his racing team, which is the player, who must compete in various challenges, including the Tow Mater Fancy Drivin' Challenge, in which the player follows Mater throughout his tricky course. Impressed with the player's performance, Lightning accepts the player on his team, and the level is completed.

Disney Infinity

Lightning's artwork for Disney Infinity.

In Disney Infinity, Lightning is one of the four playable characters from the Cars franchise, and his figure can be obtained with Holley Shiftwell's in the Cars Play Set Pack. Like the other characters, Lightning possesses all capabilities that a non-car character has while driving inside of a ground vehicle, including accelerating, braking, reversing, drifting, and boosting, though all Cars characters have one more boost segment than ground vehicles do, for a grand total of four. He can also tow other players with a tow hook. If attempting to tow a non-car character, that character will ride on a small wagon behind Lightning.

Lightning's packs and tools consist of various weapons, which are the same ones that are used during battle races, including Machine Guns, Missile Launchers, and more.

In the Cars Play Set, Lightning's toy chests will unlock the Lightning McQueen Paint Job, as well as three random toys pertaining to Cars, including cast members, set pieces, skies, and more, all of which can be used in the Toy Box. Lightning's unique adventure is Lightning's Collector Course, in which Lightning must navigate through a large stunt course, while obtaining a set amount of collectibles, which changes with each difficulty level, in the given time limit.

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Lightning McQueen's newspaper cameo in Planes: Fire & Rescue.

In Planes: Fire & Rescue, while he does not make a physical appearance, an image of Lightning can be seen on the sports-related newspaper that Dusty and his friends are looking at. This image is actually the same promotional artwork that was released of Lightning in his Cars 2 attire.

Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition

In Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition, Lightning returns alongside all other Disney Infinity characters from the first title, though he has not received any major changes, apart from receiving four skill trees, which feature abilities that can be upgraded to be improved. Additionally, Lightning can now be leveled up to level 20, as opposed to level 15, as in the previous game.

To obtain the Lightning McQueen Paint Job, Fillmore, Flo, Ramone, and The Radiator Cap toys, the player must simply take ownership of Lightning for the first time.

Cars: Fast as Lightning

Lightning after winning a race.

In Cars: Fast as Lightning, Lightning is the final unlockable playable character, though two races must be completed while playing as him in the tutorial of the game. When he is unlocked, Lightning's Pit and the Doc Hudson Statue will be unlocked for use on tracks and in town.

Prior to being unlocked, Lightning will join Mater andLizzie in giving the player missions to complete. In contrast to Mater's, which revolve primarily around town-related tasks, Lightning's revolve around race-related tasks, such as completing a set amount of tricks in races, or building a certain amount of objects on a character's race track.

Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition

In Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition, Lightning makes another appearance as a playable character, and has received no noticeable changes from his previous appearance in Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition. When the player takes ownership of Lightning for the first time, the Lightning McQueen Paint Job will be unlocked, along with the Fillmore, Flo, Ramone, and The Radiator Cap toys.

Cars 3

In Cars 3, Lightning McQueen returns as the protagonist.

By Cars 3, Lightning has been racing in the Piston Cup for over 10 years. He has struck up friendships with fellow racers Cal Weathers - who is now racing for Dinoco with his uncle Strip "The King" Weathers as his crew chief - and Bobby Swift. Tex Dinoco would still like McQueen to race for him, even courting him within earshot of Cal. During the season, a newcomer named Jackson Storm seemingly comes out of nowhere and wins. McQueen later congratulates him only for Storm to state it was an honor to "finally beat [him]", later telling his crew that he "struck a nerve", showing that he likes to use emotional manipulation to get into his opponents' heads. Also, Storm uses the latest technology to train, making him a highly-skilled precision racer.

McQueen trying to catch up to Storm moments before his crash.

The season goes on with Jackson continuing to rack up wins, and more advanced, rookie racers begin supplanting the older generation. Cal chooses to retire, telling McQueen how much he valued their friendship. Bobby is fired by his sponsor and replaced with Daniel Swervez. On the next race, McQueen gets increasingly desperate to win, but fortunately Guido is still fast at pit stops and gets him back out, with Sally and Mater cheering him on. Storm continues to mock him on the track, passing him. Swervez and Chase Racelott - another next-gen racer - also pass McQueen. Lightning pushes himself as hard as he can, but his right rear tire blows out and he suffers a major crash. Sally, Mater, Guido and Luigi go out to see if he's okay while emergency responders check on him. Four months later, McQueen has recovered and is back in Radiator Springs. He's in Doc's old garage watching footage of the crash that ended his career. Sally then checks on him. Lightning doesn't want to end up like Doc who was forced to retire. Sally tells him not to fear failure, reminding him that he has a chance. She resorts to some reverse psychology to get him going. McQueen tells all his friends he intends to keep racing. After Ramone re-paints McQueen in his original racing color scheme, Mack takes him, Guido and Luigi to the new Rust-eze Racing Center. He's surprised to learn that Dusty and Rusty sold Rust-eze to billionaire Sterling, who appears to be a big fan. He has McQueen fitted with a new suit which tracks his speed and vital signs. Sterling shows off all the high-tech training equipment, including the most advanced simulator available.

Sterling and McQueen discuss future.

McQueen is introduced to Cruz Ramirez, a friendly and enthusiastic trainer who first riles McQueen up by saying he's an impostor, but this was quickly shown as a motivational tactic. Cruz trains McQueen, who's itching to try the simulator. Unfortunately, it goes badly when McQueen rams into various objects, catches on fire, flies off the restraints and crashes into the screen. Sterling then calls him into his office, showing him lots of merchandise with his likeness. McQueen realizes that Sterling doesn't want him racing anymore, so he makes a wager: if McQueen wins his next race, he retires whenever he wants; if not, he'll sell all the merchandise he can. McQueen, Guido, Luigi and Mack head to Fireball Beach to train, with Cruz following them to help.

McQueen and Ramirez train together.

Cruz will run alongside him using her digital assistant Hamilton to gauge his top speed, but will have to stay very close. This proves easier said than done since Cruz doesn't know how to race on sand. It takes until sunset to get it right. McQueen's top speed is gauged at 198 mph, which is still slower than Storm. He decides to head to Thunder Hollow which has a dirt track, but when Luigi gets worried about the press finding him there, Mack assures him he can give McQueen a disguise.

When they get there, McQueen is covered in mud to mask his appearance, going by the name Chester Whipplefilter. They realize too late that it's a Demolition Derby, and Cruz now has to take part too. The champion is a monster school bus named Miss Fritter. Both McQueen and Cruz barely avoid getting hit, but McQueen has to protect Cruz from Fritter. Cruz wins the derby, but accidentally trips Mr. Drippy over and inadvertently washes McQueen off, blowing his cover.

An angry McQueen lashes out at Cruz in Mack's trailer, complaining that he spent the entire day having to take care of her. He states that he has to win his next race to continue in the sport, saying she wouldn't understand since she's not a racer. Feeling hurt by McQueen, Cruz orders Mack to pull over and angrily snaps back at Lightning. She never wanted to be a trainer, but a racer like him. She got to her first race, but felt she didn't belong and left. Lightning admits - at Cruz's urging - that he never felt he didn't belong. She wishes she knew what that felt like. Cruz drives off on her own.

Mack spends the night sleeping under a bridge while McQueen watches TV. Footage of the demolition derby plays. Also, analyst Natalie Certain reports that Storm has set a new record for fastest lap, making him the heavy favorite at 95.2%. McQueen calls Mater who fortunately was still awake. Mater initially can't come up with good advice until McQueen says he wishes he could talk to Doc again. Mater makes an off-handed comment that the car who taught Doc would know more about racing than him. With that, McQueen catches up to Cruz and convinces her to come with him to Doc's hometown of Thomasville.

Once arriving, Lightning and Cruz get a look at the dirt track where Doc used to race. They meet Doc's mentor Smokey, who takes them to a bar with fellow racing legends River Scott, Junior Johnson, and Louise Nash. McQueen tells Smokey that he wishes he could've seen Doc during his racing days when he was at his happiest. Smokey tells McQueen that he never heard from Doc after he moved to Radiator Springs, but one day he started getting letters from him. Smokey shows McQueen a wall with pictures of McQueen and Doc, revealing that coaching Lightning was the happiest time of his life.[4] Smokey tells him he can't be faster than Storm, but he can be smarter than him, as evidenced by making it through the derby without a scratch.

Since McQueen missed the qualifiers, he'll have to start from behind and Jackson will start in front. Cruz has a spoiler installed and black tape is used to make her resemble Storm so she can be a "sparring partner" for McQueen. The two will race on the speedway with the latter only having three laps to overtake her, but he can't. They use other techniques to train: dodging thrown bales of hay and other obstacles, maneuvering through a tractor stampede, and driving through a forest at night without their headlights on. The two get the hang of the exercises. While night driving, McQueen's suit gets torn off by the trees, giving him back his original racing colors.

During this, Lightning and Cruz watch old footage of Doc's races. They see that he used the drafting technique to gain speed and see him use the barricade to flip over another car who tried to ram him into the wall. On their final day of training, McQueen manages to pull ahead on the speedway, but Cruz still wins. They have to head to Florida for the race.

While Sheriff, Lizzie, and Red stayed behind, the rest of Radiator Springs arrived in Florida to cheer McQueen on, with Smokey acting as his crew chief. McQueen starts out last but gains ground. Sterling orders Cruz to leave. This doesn't sit well with McQueen, who hears the conversation, and wants her back. After a wreck occurs, Lightning makes the call that Cruz will finish the race for him. She is quickly prepared by Ramone, Luigi, and Guido while Mater keeps Sterling away. With the #95, racing tires, and a spoiler, Cruz officially joins the race. Through Smokey, McQueen relays advice to her but takes over as her crew chief. Cruz puts all the training to great use and makes it near the top. While Storm is in first, he purposely falls back to second place as Cruz makes it to third place. He resorts to psychological warfare against her but McQueen tells her Jackson sees her as a threat or he would not be using such tactics.

The final lap comes. Cruz is right behind Jackson who cannot shake her. Storm rams her into the wall but she uses Doc's flipping move to escape and take the lead. Cruz wins the race to the delight of the crowd.

Everyone congratulates her on the win. As Lightning is about to accept his fate as Sterling's product, he checks the scoreboard to see that he won the race alongside Cruz. At the end, McQueen decides to hold a friendly exhibition race with Cruz for all of their friends, with McQueen sporting Doc's racing number and color, continuing Doc's legacy.

Cars 3: Driven to Win

McQueen in Cars 3: Driven to Win

Lightning is one of six playable characters, the other five being Cruz Ramirez, Mater, Sally, Ramone, and Guido, who are available from the start in Cars 3: Driven to Win. His "fabulous" paint job was also made available in a free update, which was released to coincide with the cinematic release of Cars 3.

Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool

In Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool, McQueen and Cruz Ramirez watch a commercial for Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool. Later after watching the commercial, McQueen notices one of his trophies toppled and broke, explaining to Cruz that going to Miss Fritter's school program is too dangerous to attend.

Other appearances

As the main character of the Cars series, Lightning appears in nearly every book, comic, and magazine ever written, most of which he has a lead role in.

Cars Land

A model of Lightning at Cars Land.

A model based on Lightning McQueen makes two different appearance in Cars Land. In one, he is driving through Radiator Springs, talking with the guests. There, he appeared in his Cars 2 attire until 2017 when he was changed to his Cars 3 attire.

Lightning's other appearance is in the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. In the ride, after the guests escape Frank, Lightning and Sally greet them and direct them towards either Luigi's Casa Della Tires for new tires or to Ramone's House of Body Art for a new paint job. After the race, he and Mater congratulate the guests on their performance and state that "you can't win if you don't race!", among other phrases.

General information

Physical description

Lightning in Cars 3.

Lightning's model is a hand-built racing car, built for racing purposes specifically. He is a mix of a stock car and a more curvaceous Le Mans endurance racer. He has modifications like a red spoiler, and for a short time did not have headlights, only stickers. He has coil-over shocks with tubular A arm front suspension, a solid axle rear end and vented disc brakes at all four wheels. He also has air flaps on his roof to prevent flipping. His engine is a V-8, having a horsepower of 750. In Cars 2, his 0-60 speed is 3.2 seconds, and his top speed is 200 mph. In Cars 3, his 0-60 speed is 4 seconds, and his top speed is 198 mph.

Many fans claim that he either resembles a Dodge Viper, Ford GT40 or a tuned Mazda MX5. McQueen's appearance bears very little resemblance to modern NASCAR sedans. He instead resembles a C6 Corvette, but using NASCAR technology.

Side view.

In Cars, Lightning wears his Piston Cup paint scheme. He is painted red, with an orange and yellow lightning bolt design on his doors, along with the number "95" and a variety of sponsor stickers. He has the Rust-eze logo on his hood, as well as on his spoiler and rear fenders. On his yellow rear bumper written "Medicated Ointment". In Radiator Springs, McQueen was repainted to maroon with the white oval on his doors and little yellow lightning on it, paint job is similar to 1959 Chevy Corvette's one. Spoiler, logos and number was removed. Before the final race of 2006 spoiler regained and Lightning was repainted back to his Piston Cup paint job. In the epilogue scene and credits of Cars Lightning again shown in the maroon and white paint job, but now number 95 is painted on his doors and roof, surrounded by a white circle, now he has Rust-eze logos and some stickers, his rear bumper now lacks any logos. In Cars Toons he continues to use it on daily basis, but, according to Cars 3 flashbacks, McQueen often switched this paint job to the original Piston Cup one.

Lightning flames.

At the beginning of Cars 2, Lightning is shown in his old Piston Cup design, he no longer painted maroon, he painted in old red color that was used on his first paint job on doors seen little bit modified old lightning silhouette, painted in deeper red, yellow lightning from white oval became bigger and now big "95" placed on it. Doc Hudson Piston Cup logo was added to his doors, also there were only three sponsor stickers. Later in the film, Lightning received an entirely new design, which brings back his original lightning bolt pattern while changing it to look more like a flame, Rust-eze logos were replaced with Piston Cup emblem and the "WGP 95" stickers were added on the doors, he got a new spoiler with World Grand Prix logo on top and flames on sides, on his new door skirts is now written "WORLD GRAND PRIX allinol" and on the rear bumper is written "WGP 95 POWERED BY allinol". His headlight stickers were replaced by actual headlights. In the final scene of Cars 2 seen, that all his World Grand Prix stickers, except "WGP 95" and on rear is now seen a sticker, saying "Ka-Ciao, Francesco". During Cars Toons he has a "transition" paint job, Lightning's spoiler now has a Radiator Springs logo on top, Francesco sticker was replaced by Hudson Hornet Piston Cup logo, on his rear bumper is now seen his signature and his bolt, sponsor stickers were regained at the place of "WGP 95".

McQueen's electronic suit.

McQueen's design received another update in Cars 3, now it mostly resemble the original one, but with rebranded Piston Cup and Rusteze logos. Old spoiler was regained, number 95 is now seen under his left headlight, on his hood is now seen a lightning bolt with Rusteze logo. After his crash McQueen seen primer with red "95" on his doors. When Lightning was brought to Rust-eze Racing Center, Ramone repainted McQueen back into 2016 Piston Cup paint job, but without lightning bolt on hoodm old Rust-eze logos and WGP-like flaming bolt. At the Rust-eze Racing Center he receives an electronic suit heat-shrunk onto him with its own decal scheme. The yellow lightning bolt design with Rust-eze ghost pattern on his doors now extends all the way to his rear fender, and a large Rust-eze logos are now present on his rear end, spoiler and hood,[5] sponsor stickers disappeared. However, the suit is accidentally torn to shreds during training at Thomasville and Lightning competed in next race in Ramone's paint job. When McQueen becomes Cruz Ramirez' crew chief, he receives entirely new paint job, inspired by the Fabulous Hudson Hornet's appearance. Now he is painted blue, on his roof seen 4 yellow 95 numbers and one on his rear fenders, old yellow Rust-eze wordmarks on his hood and spoiler, instead of lightning bolt on his doors is now written "Fabulous McQueen". Hudson Hornet logo is now replaces Rust-eze logo on the rear, rear bumper reads "95 For Doc Hudson", the stickers and 95 under left headlight was removed.

Personality and traits

"I love being me."

Lightning is kind, positive, courageous and brave, and enjoys having fun and spending time with his friends, especially Mater. Prior to his arrival in Radiator Springs, Lightning was cocky and self-centered, only caring about two things: winning and the pride that comes with it. At the time, Lightning had no friends besides Mack and Harv, leaving him with limited social skills. Regardless, he was still a popular name in the racing world, and was constantly being interviewed by the Press and admired by fans, much to his liking. When two fangirls drove up to him, they were taken away by security, after Lightning simply said "I love being me." Though the Radiator Springs residents were not very fond of him at first, they later befriended Lightning, and McQueen learned why it is important to have good friends. Lightning established Radiator Springs as his home base, and the wide publicity sparked interest in the town, which was soon put back on the map.

McQueen and Mater mess around on the tracks.

Lightning's best friend is Mater, whom he met when he awoke in the Impound. While Lightning did not like Mater at first, he began to like him after he took Lightning tractor tipping in the middle of the night. Mater and McQueen do several things together, including going tractor tipping regularly, driving backwards, driving along the Ornament Valley railroad tracks without tire treads, and occasionally racing each other. However, the two have their fair share of fights; most notably when Mater accidentally through Lightning off during the first race of the World Grand Prix, due to Lightning mistaking his banter with Holley Shiftwell for advice. Angry, Lightning yells at Mater and tells him he neither needs or wants his help anymore. Saddened by this, Mater decides to return home to avoid making Lighting lose another race and apologizes to Lighting through a note. However, at the end of the film, Lightning and Mater make up, and together they expose Miles Axlerod and his plan.

Lightning, Luigi and Barry at the beginning of a race.

Lightning's primary interest when he is not spending quiet time with his friends is racing. As a famous Piston Cup race car himself, Lightning has a remarkable talent for it, and enjoys practicing and competing in road races whenever he is not out on the Piston Cup track. McQueen has many formidable opponents; the many inhabitants of Radiator Springs, a group of British and Mexican rivals, various allies of Chick Hicks, international superstars, and other Piston Cup racers, notably Chick Hicks and, for a short time, The King. Lightning's obsession with victory and fame came to a close once he remembered the words of his mentor, Doc Hudson: "It's just an empty cup." Lightning gave up his win at the tie-breaker race to help The King finish his last race. Lightning still enjoys spending quiet time with his friends, especially Sally Carrera, his girlfriend. Some of their favorite activities are taking a drive through the beautiful scenery of Tailfin Pass, and enjoying dates at the Wheel Well Motel and other locations in Carburetor County.

Powers and abilities

As a world-famous race car, Lightning is incredibly gifted, and can perform a variety of stunts to assist him in winning his races. In terms of statistics, Lightning is usually portrayed with having outstanding acceleration, speed, handling, stability, agility, and boost, the latter of which he learned from his friend Fillmore, and in Cars: The Video Game and Cars: Mater-National Championship, he has three boost tanks, which he has earned throughout his time in Radiator Springs.

McQueen carefully passing Floyd Mulvihill and Rusty Cornfuel in a Piston Cup race

Lightning can also tilt, which allows him to take turns sharper, as well as squeeze by opponents, which he once did in a Piston Cup race, where he used the wall to squeeze through the space between it and another racer. He can also jump, which allows him to hop over obstacles and other cars. McQueen is a very talented drifter as well; he learned this skill from Doc Hudson, who used to be a famous dirt track racer. Drifting, also called powersliding in some Cars media, allows Lightning to take sharp turns without losing control and driving off of the track. His top speed is around 200 MPH with 750 HP and a 0-60 of 4 seconds.

In all three installments of the Disney Infinity series, Lightning also has a tow hook, which can be used to tow other vehicles, a skill that is utilized for some missions in the Cars Play Set. If Lightning uses this ability on a player or toy that is not a car, such as Jack Sparrow, they will ride in a small wooden wagon that Lightning can pull around. In Cars 2: The Video Game and the Disney Infinity games, McQueen can also use weapons if he picks up one while racing. When using a Machine Gun or Missile Launcher, the compartments on his sides will open, allowing Lightning to fire them. In Mater's tall tales from the Cars Toons episodes, Lightning has been shown with a variety of other abilities, including:

  • Performing stunts, though he did not successfully jump the Carburetor Canyon (Mater the Greater)
  • Fighting Bulldozers and angering them with his red paint job (El Materdor)
  • Possessing skills that resemble that of a dragon, and defeats Kabuto's Ninjas with little to no trouble (Tokyo Mater)
  • Singing and playing the keyboard (Heavy Metal Mater)
  • Monster Truck wrestling (Monster Truck Mater)
  • Exploring space (Moon Mater)
  • Taking care of crime (Mater Private Eye)
  • Performing stunts in the air (Air Mater)


Click here to see the relationships for Lightning McQueen


Lightning is a Piston Cup champion race car known all over the world for his quick and skillful style of racing. He has won four Piston Cups over the years, and is currently working on his fifth. After his fourth win, he was accepted into the World Grand Prix, a championship involving 11 racers, each from a different part of the world. After he finished, he presumably went back to the Piston Cup. In 2017, he became Cruz Ramirez's crew chief. Additionally, Mater has told many tall tales that have featured McQueen in different professions than he usually can be seen in. Some of them include:

Job Seen in
Stunt expert Mater the Greater
Bulldozer fighter El Materdor
Rock singer Heavy Metal Mater
Monster truck wrestler Monster Truck Mater
Astronaut Moon Mater
Detective Mater Private Eye
Air stunt plane Air Mater
Spy recruit Cars 2: The Video Game


Throughout the series, McQueen has been seen with various different names and appearances, notably in the Cars Toons shorts.

In El Materdor, McQueen is a bulldozer fighter named El McQueen.

Dragon Lightning McQueen

In Tokyo Mater, McQueen goes under the name of Lightning Dragon McQueen, a drift car that helps Mater during his race with Kabuto.

In Monster Truck Mater, Lightning's stage name is "Frightening McMean", dubbed by the Referee Pitty after he mishears what McQueen says.

In Mater Private Eye, Lt. McQueen is the detective alias of McQueen.

In Air Mater, once Lightning joins the Falcon Hawks with Mater after one of the members is damaged, Lightning is called Lightning McQueen Hawk as to fit in with the names of the other Falcon Hawks.

He is usually referred to by Sally as "Stickers", because of him originally having headlight stickers rather than real ones. However, there are a couple of times when Sally refers to him by his actual name, as she says McQueen's surname when the press are in Radiator Springs in the first film, and she says McQueen's first name while he is dreaming of racing in the Radiator Springs Grand Prix in the video game, along with mentioning to Mia and Tia about the winner of the Sally's Sunshine Circuit taking a drive with him.

He is occasionally referred to as "buddy" by Mater, who also at one time calls him "Mr. I Can't Turn On Dirt" in the first film, when he thinks about going tractor tipping.

Movie Variants

Click here to see the movie variants for McQueen.

Profiles and statistics


  • Bios
    • "Lightning is built for speed and has just two things on his mind: winning and the perks that come with it. In his fast-paced life he has little time for anything or anyone, but who needs friends when you've got a stadium full of fans."[6]
    • "To Lightning McQueen, the world's fastest race car, appearance is everything. Fans expect a celebrity like him to look great all the time: fresh, shiny, spotless! If only his fans could see him now."[6]
    • "Lightning McQueen's dream is to be sponsored by Dinoco Oil! In his daydreams he looks great with his new Dinoco blue paint job and his very own brand of Lightning McQueen racing tires complete with custom spinners. Hey, and why decide on either gold or silver spinners when you can have both?"[6]
    • "The town fixed up Lightning McQueen just in time for a cruise down the strip, and Radiator Springs looks pretty cool on him. Then again, everything looks pretty cool under the glow of the neon on Route 66."[6]
    • "Could anything be more embarrassing than being splashed in the face with mud right in front of the girl of your dreams? I don't think so."[6]
    • "Could anything be more embarrassing than being splashed in the face with mud right in front of the girl of your dreams? Well, maybe being covered with leaves right after that. Yes, that would be more embarrassing..."[6]
    • "After winning the Piston Cup and getting The King's coveted Dinoco Sponsorship, McQueen imagines a movie deal will be the next logical step. He sees himself doing action movies, with a hint of comedy, a touch of drama and a truck load of explosions."[6]
    • "Turning on dirt is not only harder than Lightning McQueen thought, it's also a lot more embarrassing."[6]
    • "Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. Turn right to go left sounds easy enough, but McQueen's finding out it's a lot more painful than it seems."[6]
    • "Lightning McQueen never stops for tires, even if it means driving right through them."[6]
    • "When you don't have a nose to win by, a tongue is the next best thing."[6]

Cars: The Video Game


  • Stats
    • Speed: 5
    • Acceleration: 4
    • Handling: 3
    • Stability: 3

Lightning (Monster truck)

  • Stats
    • Speed: 4
    • Acceleration: 3
    • Handling: 2
    • Stability: 3

Cars: Mater-National Championship


  • Stats
    • Boost: 3
    • Acceleration: 4
    • Handling: 4
    • Stability: 3

Monster McQueen

  • Stats
    • Boost: 3
    • Acceleration: 3
    • Handling: 2
    • Stability: 4

Cars 2

  • Bios
    • "Number 95 Lightning McQueen is still a hotshot racecar, but his rookie days are past him. Now a permanent resident of Radiator Springs, Lightning has become a bona fide worldwide celebrity as winner of four Piston Cups. After his latest win, Lightning returns home to enjoy life in the slow lane for a while with sweetheart Sally, best friend Mater and the rest of his Radiator Springs family. His off-season is unexpectedly cut short when Mater inadvertently prompts Lightning to enter the World Grand Prix, a high profile, three-part exhibition race that will take him around the globe. With a fresh custom paint job and real, working headlights, Lightning sets off to Japan, Italy and England with Mater in tow for the adventure of a lifetime. But competing against the fastest cars in the world tests more than his racing skills when Lightning realizes his wide-eyed best friend may not be the pit chief nor ambassador he needs to navigate the unfamiliar international terrain."[7]


Actors Language version Roles
Owen Wilson English Cars, Cars: The Video Game, Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures, Mater and the Ghostlight, Cars 2, Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, The Radiator Springs 500½, To Protect and Serve, Cars: Fast as Lightning, Cars 3, Lego The Incredibles
Keith Ferguson Cars: Mater-National Championship, Rescue Squad Mater, Mater the Greater, El Materdor, Tokyo Mater, The World of Cars Online, Cars: Race-O-Rama, Unidentified Flying Mater, Heavy Metal Mater, Monster Truck Mater, Moon Mater, Mater Private Eye, Air Mater, Cars 2: The Video Game, Time Travel Mater, Disney Infinity, Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition, Hiccups, Spinning, Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition, Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool
Ben Rausch Cars 3: Driven to Win
Imad Feghaly Arabic Cars, Cars 2
Nicolás Vázquez Argentinian Cars
Ivaylo Velchev Bulgarian Cars, Cars 2
Huang Lei Chinese Cars 2, Cars 3
Richard Krajčo Czech Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
David Owe Danish Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3, Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool
Hans Somers Dutch Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Guillaume Canet French Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Éric Legrand Mater and the Ghostlight
Axel Kiener Cars Toons
Sami Uotila Finnish Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Daniel Brühl German Cars
Manou Lubowski Cars 2, Cars 3
Sakis Rouvas Greek Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Ofer Shechter Hebrew Cars
Yuval Segal Cars 3
Massimiliano Manfredi Italian Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3,
O Inseong Korean Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Roland Tóth Hungarian Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3, Cars Toons
Jan Lamb Hongkongese Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Hiroshi Tsuchida Japanese Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Kuno Becker Mexican Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Sergio Gutiérrez Coto Mater and the Ghostlight, Cars Toons, Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, Disney Infinity, Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition, Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition, The Radiator Springs 500½, Cars 3: Driven to Win
Espen Sandvik Norwegian Cars, Cars 2
Piotr Adamczyk Polish Cars, Rescue Squad Mater, Mater the Greater, El Materdor, Tokyo Mater, Unidentified Flying Mater, Monster Truck Mater, Heavy Metal Mater, Moon Mater, Mater Private Eye, Cars 2, Air Mater, Time Travel Mater, Spinning, The Radiator Springs 500½, Cars 3, Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool
Jarosław Boberek Cars 2: The Video Game
Pedro Granger Portuguese Cars, Cars 2
Dmitry Kharatyan Russian Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Andrey Lyovin Cars Toons
Patrice Dubois Quebecois Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Danijel Sič Serbian Cars
Guillermo Romero Spanish Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Martin Stenmarck Swedish Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3
Vanness Wu Taiwanese Cars
Blackie Chen Cars 2, Cars 3
Ostap Stupka Ukrainian Cars, Cars 2, Cars 3


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Lightning McQueenDoc HudsonTow MaterSally CarreraSheriffLuigiGuidoFillmoreSargeRamoneFloLizzieRedStanleyTractorsFrankStrip WeathersChick HicksMackRusty and Dusty Rust-ezeTex DinocoFredMia and TiaLynda WeathersHarvSnot RodBoostDJWingoNot ChuckDexter HooverBessieJerry Recycled BatteriesAlbert HinkeyVroomaroundus BugusBarney StorminAl OftMinnyVanKori TurbowitzBob CutlassDarrell CartripBrianDan SclarkenbergKim CarllinsSkip RicterChukiJay LimoSvenChuck ManifoldMichael SchumacherAntonio Veloce EccellenteCostanzo Della CorsaMario AndrettiWinford Bradford RutherfordSage VanDerSpinClaude ScruggsGreg CandymanMurray ClutchburnRyan ShieldsLee RevkinsTodd MarcusBilly OilchangerChuck ArmstrongCrusty RotorRusty CornfuelAiken AxlerErnie GearsonKevin RacingtireFloyd MulvihillDavey ApexSlider PetrolskiBrush CurberRalph CarlowDirkson D'AgostinoManny FlywheelHaul InngasMisti MotorkrassEugene CarbureskiJames CleanairRuby OaksKevin ShiftrightDarren LeadfootMac iCarPonchy WipeoutJohnny BlamerDale Earnhardt, Jr.Rotor TurboskyGrayDinoco Crew ChiefLuke PettleworkDinoco GirlsChief ChickChick Hicks HaulerWide Chick PittyBruiser BukowskiTrunk Fresh Crew ChiefTrunk Fresh HaulerTrunk Fresh PittyEric RoadalesHugo FastNitroade Crew ChiefErnest B. RaykesPiccolo PerryLeak Less HaulerStacyEarl FilterMood Springs PittyMood Springs HaulerN2O Cola PittyRoman DunesShirley SpinoutNo Stall HaulerChief RPM"Petrol" PulaskiRPM HaulerOctane Gain HaulerDudley SpareOctane Gain Crew ChiefJerry DrivechainWells RunaboutSenior TraxNebekenezer SchmidtEasy Idle Crew ChiefEasy Idle PittyVitoline PittyVitoline HaulerBumper Save PittyBen DoordanVinyl Toupee HaulerSidewall Shine HaulerShifty Drug HaulerGasprin HaulerView Zeen HaulerShiny Wax HaulerCBDan Haulin'Charlie CheckerRace Official TomTowMarco AxelbenderRichard Clayton KensingtonAxle AcceleratorMarlon "Clutches" McKayBernie BanksArtieBrian Fee ClampMarcoStu BopKathy CopterRon HoverChuck Choke CablesNelson Blindspot"Studs" McGirdleDash BoardmanHoomanHouser BoonBertTim RimmerAndreaMattiCora CopperOliver LightloadGilChet BoxkaarBen CrankleshaftPaul ValdezTimothy "Timezone" TruecoatMildred BylaneEdwin KranksDustin MellowsGretaHank "Halloween" MurphyValerie VeateNicky B.Marilyn StickersNick StickersDerek "Decals" DobbsPercy HanbrakesMilton CalypeerMiles "Meattruck" MaloneThe Convoy BrothersMiloJohnny and JamieWilmar FlattzBarry DieselBrad WinmilerDarla VandersonPolly PuddlejumperJ. Low LeeTrev DieselBudR.M.LarryElvisVernBenny BrakedrumCoriander WidetrackBrake BoydM.A. Brake DrummSyd VanDerKamperMarty BrakeburstMatthew "True Blue" McCrewKit RevsterDonna PitsJonathan WrenchworthsAndy VaporlockMichael SparkberJ. ShoesteerJapethCraig FasterSwift AlternetterBennie CaliperTimothy TwostrokeToddBertha ButterswagonClayton GentlebreezeDuff WrecksThe Autobahn SocietyAlphanumerosHamm CentercutBuzz Light CarWoodyFlikP.T. FleaP.T. Flea's Circus TroupeSulleyMikeYetiLeroy TraffikMurphyFrank "Pinky" PinkertonCharlie CargoT.J. HummerPattyJay W.Christina Wheeland
Voice Cast
Owen WilsonPaul NewmanBonnie HuntLarry the Cable GuyCheech MarinTony ShalhoubGuido QuaroniJenifer LewisPaul DooleyMichael WallisGeorge CarlinKatherine HelmondJohn RatzenbergerJoe RanftMichael KeatonRichard PettyDarrell WaltripBob CostasJeremy PivenJeremy ClarksonRichard KindEdie McClurgH. A. WheelerTom MagliozziRay MagliozziLynda PettyAndrew StantonDale Earnhardt, Jr.Michael SchumacherJay LenoMario AndrettiSarah ClarkMike NelsonJonas RiveraLou RomanoAdrian OchoaE.J. HolowickiElissa KnightLindsey CollinsLarry BentonDouglas KeeverTom HanksTim AllenBilly CrystalJohn GoodmanDave FoleyRodger BumpassArtie KempnerHooman KhaliliJess HarnellSonoko KonishiSheryl CrowJack AngelMichael BellBob BergenSusan BluAndrea BoerriesMarco BoerriesTorbin Xan BullockRichard CawoodScott ClarkKathy CoatesJennifer DarlingPaul EidingBill FarmerBrian FeeTeresa GanzelCraig GoodErik LangleySherry LynnDanny MannMickie McGowanLaraine NewmanTeddy NewtonColleen O' ShaughnesseyBob PetersonSteve PurcellA.J. Riebli IIIDan ScanlonStephen SchafferKen SchretzmannBob ScottMatt StaudtJim and Jay WardColette Whitaker
John LasseterJoe RanftDarla K. AndersonThomas PorterJorgen KlubienDan FogelmanKiel MurrayPhil LorinKen SchretzmannRandy Newman
Real GoneRoute 66Life is a HighwayBehind the CloudsOur TownSh-BoomFind YourselfMy Heart Would Know
Cars 2
Lightning McQueenTow MaterFinn McMissileHolley ShiftwellFrancesco BernoulliMiles AxlerodProfessor ZündappGremAcerLuigiGuidoSargeFillmoreShu TodorokiRaoul ÇaRouleJeff GorvetteMax SchnellMiguel CaminoCarla VelosoLewis HamiltonNigel GearsleyRip ClutchgoneskiJan "Flash" NilssonLong GeMark "Frosty" WinterbottomMemo Rojas, Jr.Vitaly PetrovFernando AlonsoVictor HugoVladimir TrunkovJ. Curby GremlinTubbs PacerSally CarreraSheriffRamoneFloLizzieRedMackTomberDarrell CartripBrent MustangburgerDavid HobbscapJacques VilleneuveUncle TopolinoMama TopolinoSiddeleyCrabbyStephensonTony TrihullRod "Torque" RedlineLeland TurboThe QueenPrince WheeliamSgt. HighgearSir Harley GassupMama BernoulliMel DoradoTopper Deckington IIIEverettGlobieChauncy FaresBrian FuelM. FendericksonPaul OilkleyBrett WarnewagenKingpin NobunagaPinion TanakaKimura KaizoZen MasterOkuniShigekoTamikoMei and SatsukiDaniella MufflerShelley ShiftTokyo Party StaffTerry GongDaisu TsashimiEdamame TsashimiMike FuseVic VanleyHaikiBob PulleyTaia DecoturaIvanOtisGalloping GeargrinderTyler GremlinPetrov TrunkovFred PacerAlexander HugoKarl HaulzemoffMuggsy LiftsomeGiuseppe MotorosiAlex MachinoMach MatsuoBruno MotoreauE. Manual ManiezJohn LassetireJeff Gorvette PittyOtto BonnMax Schnell's PittyPetro CartalinaCruz BesouroBruce BoxmannAustin LittletonBrian GearlooskiErik LaneleyCarlo MaseratiBindoSajan KariaTrent Crow-TowNat McLugnut and Michael HonkselUcchiSal MachianiDaisu TsashimiChukiFabrizioCartney BrakinCaratekaJesse HaullanderKabutoYokozaSukiHarumiChisakiIchigoNick CartoneHiroakiTakeshiYukioCartney BrakinLee RacéNate StanchionJessica GiampetrolAlex VandelOfficer MurakarmiBecky WheelinKrate Rainson-WashRukaPetey PacerJerome RampedStefan GremskyTowga GremlinTolga TrunkovDon CrumlinMarcelo and MarcoFrancaFrancescaUncle Topolino's BandFather BurkeAntonio and AngeloPope Pinion IVPopemobileJohnNancyLubewigGeartrudeLouis LaRueHenri MotisseEmmanuelAlex CarvillAlfredoTowin' EoinCeline DephareJustin PartsonJason HubkapAlexis WheelsonMary EsgocarMagen CarrarShawn KrashJonathan ShiftkoApeTrike FeldmanAlbertoCartney CarsperRonnie Del CooperDenise BeamFrank ClutchensonAlloy HembergerClutch FosterKimberly RimsCarinne CavvyColossus XXLAndy GearsdaleCorporal Josh CoolantMark WheelsenSiren CarbariniDoug SpeedcheckScott SparkMike LorengineGearett TaylorMaurice WheelksVictor PaveoneJumpstart J. WardScott MotorseManny RoadriguezStanleyMia and TiaAl OftTodd
Voice Cast
Larry the Cable GuyOwen WilsonMichael CaineEmily MortimerEddie IzzardJohn TurturroBrent MusburgerJoe MantegnaThomas KretschmannPeter JacobsonBonnie HuntDarrell WaltripFranco NeroDavid HobbsTony ShalhoubJeff GarlinMichel MichelisJason IsaacsLloyd SherrBruce CampbellJenifer LewisStanley TownsendVelibor TopicSig HansenGuido QuaroniVanessa RedgraveJohn MainieriBrad LewisCheech MarinJeff GordonLewis HamiltonPaul DooleyEdie McClurgRichard KindKatherine HelmondJohn RatzenbergerMichael WallisBarbara KottmeierPatrick WalkerJunichi KajiokaJess HarnellColleen O' ShaughnesseyDaniel Okeefe
John LasseterBrad LewisDenise ReamMark NielsenDan FogelmanBen QueenStephen SchafferMichael Giacchino
You Might ThinkCollision of WorldsMon Cœur Fait VroumNobody's FoolPolyrhythm
Cars 3
Lightning McQueenCruz RamirezJackson StormDoc HudsonSally CarreraTow MaterLuigiGuidoMackFillmoreSargeSheriffRamoneFloLizzieRedTex DinocoSterlingRusty and Dusty Rust-ezeSmokeyHamiltonLouise NashRiver ScottJunior MoonCal WeathersBobby SwiftMiss FritterArvy MotorhomeDr. DamageTacoJimboT-BoneAPBBlindspotPushoverTailgateCigalertFishtailBroadsidePattyBillPileupHigh ImpactFaregameAirboneSuperflyJambalayaLiabilityHit and RunToddRoscoeMr. DrippyDarrell CartripBob CutlassNatalie CertainChick HicksShannon SpokesAlbert HinkeyBrick YardleyPhil TanksonChip GearingsReb MeekerMurray ClutchburnPonchy WipeoutBuck BearinglyTodd MarcusRev-N-Go RacerTommy HighbanksDud ThrottlemanRex RevlerRalph CarlowJack DePostTerry KargasBrian SparkFloyd MulvihillParker BrakestonT.G. CastlenutDarren LeadfootErnie GearsonDirkson D'AgostinoJimmy CablesLane LockeDaniel SwervezRyan LaneyBubba WheelhouseChase RacelottTim TreadlessRich MixonCam SpinnerH.J. HollisEd TruncanHerb CurblerRookie RacersKurtRonaldGabriel"Jet" Robinson"Trick" QuizzlerStrip WeathersTractorsMaddy McGearPat TraxsonMorgan MartinsTiny LugsworthStu ScattershieldsHerb CurblerSweet TeaKris RevstopskiMillieRay ReverhamJeff GorvetteGale BeaufortCal Weathers' HaulerBobby Swift's HaulerSir Miles AxlerodRogerBudCraig FästerVic VanleyLeroy HemmingRusty ManifoldAlex VandelBrick's Boss
Owen WilsonCristela AlonzoArmie HammerLarry the Cable GuyBonnie HuntPaul DooleyCheech MarinRichard PettyKyle PettyChase ElliottDaniel SuárezRyan BlaneyDarrell Wallace Jr.Shannon SpakeRay EvernhamMike JoyJeff GordonDarrell WaltripKerry WashingtonNathan FillionLea DeLariaChris CooperMargo MartindaleIsiah Whitlock Jr.Junior JohnsonH. A. WheelerLewis Hamilton
Brian FeeKevin ReherDaniel GersonRandy Newman