Glistening metallic vehicles with colorful personalities and pun-heavy names will ride rampant onscreen in Disney/Pixar’s sequel, Cars 2, which arrives in theaters next summer.

The first image from the followup to the 2006 merchandising hit Cars has been unveiled and with it comes an official plot description and teaser poster for the new adventure with hot red racing stud Lightning McQueen (whose engine made noises eerily similar to Owen Wilson’s voice in the first film :-) ).

Wilson will return to voice McQueen in Cars 2 and will be joined by Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger, along with Bonnie Hunt, who provides the vocals for the royal blue Porsche and McQueen love interest (still not sure how that works), Sally Carrera. Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub and Cheech Marin (last seen onscreen as Machete‘s “holy” brother, Padre) will also lend their voices to the Cars sequel, along with the redneck funnyman himself, Larry the Cable Guy, as the trusty rusty tow truck, Mater.

Read the official Cars 2 synopsis below, followed by the first image released from the animated pic:

Star racecar Lightning McQueen and the incomparable tow truck Mater take their friendship to exciting new places in ‘Cars 2′ when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.  Torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret spy mission, Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world.  Adding to the fast-paced fun is a colorful new all-car cast that includes secret agents, menacing villains and international racing competitors.

Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter is co-directing Cars 2, alongside Rataouille producer Brad Lewis. The story for the first Cars bore a resemblance to the Michael J. Fox comedy, Doc Hollywood (with cars instead of southern townies, naturally) and had its charms, but the sequel looks to both amp up the number of racing sequences – which can be glimpsed in 3D this time – and give more screen time to Mater, in the hopes that he’ll work as more than just a one-note comic relief.

A teaser trailer for Cars 2 was released last month and it suggested that the film will be a fun adventure for the whole family that avoids the tear-inducing drama of this year’s Toy Story 3 – and, given the nature of the Cars universe, that’s probably for the best.

Check out the Cars 2 teaser poster below:

Cars 2 rolls into 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters in the U.S. on June 24th, 2011.

Source: Disney/Pixar, Yahoo! Movies