Following on from the box office and merchandising success of Cars 2 in 2011, Disney/Pixar announced that the anthropomorphic cars were preparing to rev their engines (or in Mater’s case, sustain a steady speed) for the third installment of the Cars movie franchise, currently scheduled for release on June 16, 2017.

From the early days of following Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) as a rookie racing for the Piston Cup in Cars and then zooming around the globe for the World Grand Prix in Cars 2; we will now witness McQueen progress to veteran status in the ever-changing high-tech racing scene of Cars 3. However, the hotshot race car from Radiator Springs soon discovers that he’s a little rusty on the track, and that’s where his new trainer Cruz Ramirez comes in.

Cars 3 Concept Art Cruz Ramirez And Lightning McQueen Header Image Cars 3 Concept Art Introduces New Character


With the second sequel deep in production, director Brian Fee revealed details about the all-new character to USA Today, explaining that the young Hispanic female race car will instruct Lightning McQueen in an attempt to figure out how the “old dog can learn some new tricks.” The two automobiles could prove to be the perfect racing match, as Fee disclosed, when speaking about McQueen’s current status:

“Think of where he’d be in his career now in real time, (McQueen) is not an old man, but he’s one of the older cars on the circuit with new rookies coming in. People start to wonder and ask when he might retire… Everyone can relate to feeling like someone is at their heels, that they might be a little outdated in something they used to be very good at, feeling an expiration date. And knowing you need someone to help you get a second chance.”

McQueen’s second chance arrives in Ramirez, who aims to adapt and close the technical gap, as they prepare to race off-season in the Florida 500 (the equivalent of the Daytona 500). The sleek, yellow race car isn’t the only newcomer to put pressure on the original Rust-eze Red, as Cars 3’s antagonist is a rookie by the name of Jackson Storm. After being defeated by the upstart, further emphasis is placed on McQueen’s outdated tricks and techniques, but Fee was quick to remind audiences of the championship racer’s fighting spirit:

“Jackson Storm is the face of these rookies who have come onto the scene. And McQueen is in a position where his entire racing generation is being pushed out. But it’s too early to be shown the door right now.”

Cars 3 Concept Art Cruz Ramirez And Lightning McQueen 2 Cars 3 Concept Art Introduces New Character


This time around, the narrative will be grounded in America, with the cars travelling around historical race sites throughout the country, as a “love letter to racing and the American Way.” Other familiar characters hitting the road include tow-truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), McQueen’s love interest Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt) and auto-body shop owner Ramone (Cheech Marin); unfortunately though, no casting has been announced for either Cruz Ramirez or Jackson Storm yet, but if Cars 3 follows the typical Pixar casting model, then we should expect two well-known stars to join the line-up.

The news about Cars 3 is bound to generate far less excitement than the studio’s (other) upcoming motion pictures, especially after the critical disaster of Cars 2, which was the first Pixar film not to be nominated for an Oscar. However, it sounds as though the third installment is following a similar formula to the franchise’s superior debut – and with a pre-established built-in audience, Cars 3 could possibly become another successful chapter in the Lightning McQueen archives.

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Cars 3 arrives in U.S. theaters on June 16th, 2017, followed by Toy Story 4 on June 15th, 2018, and The Incredibles 2 on June 21st, 2019.

Source: USA Today