Jackson Storm is the main antagonist of Cars 3. He is a Piston Cup racer and Lightning McQueen's rival in the film. The poster child of a new generation of high-tech racers, he believes he represents the future of racing, and has little regard for the older race car generations. His racing number is 20, stylized as 2.0, and his main sponsor is IGNTR. His crew chief is Ray Reverham.
"Jackson Storm is fast, sleek and ready to race. A frontrunner in the next generation of racers, Storm's quiet confidence and cocky demeanor are off-putting—but his unmatched speed threatens to redefine the sport. Trained on high-tech simulators that are programmed to perfect technique and maximize velocity, Jackson Storm is literally built to be unbeatable—and he knows it."
Jackson Storm makes his first impression on the racing scene when he pulls a surprise upset at the Copper Canyon Speedway, overtaking Lightning McQueen in the last lap to take the win. When McQueen approaches Storm to congratulate him, Storm puts on a smiling face for the press but his comments show thinly-veiled disdain towards McQueen.
In the following races of the season, Storm racks up the wins, prompting a major shift in the racing world. The older racers retire or are dropped by their sponsors, opening the floodgates for a new generation of high-tech racers. When the last race of the season at the Los Angeles International Speedway finally arrives, McQueen is the only racer of the previous generation left. Storm takes every occasion during the race to put emotional pressure on McQueen and imply that this is McQueen's last race. When McQueen makes a lightning-speed pit stop to get ahead of his opponent, Storm catches up to him with ease. He goes on the win the race and become the Piston Cup Champion, while McQueen ends the race in a major crash.
On the eve of the following season, Jackson Storm trains intensively both on track and simulator to prepare for the season opener, the Florida 500. He beats record after record, and sets the fastest lap ever recorded in the process.
The day of the Florida 500 finally comes. Before the race begins, Storm notices Cruz Ramirez and mistakes her for a fan (because of the paint job tweaks she made as part of McQueen's training). Somewhat patronizing, he suggests that they take a picture, before being confronted by McQueen. Storm begins the race in pole position and remains unchallenged for the better part of the race, until his crew chief notifies him that McQueen has been replaced with Ramirez, who is catching up to him. At first, Storm laughs it off, mockingly calling her "the costume girl". But when she gets up to fourth place, Storm turns more concerned, and decides to resort to his psychological warfare skills. Moving down so he can be next to her, he tries to paint her as an impostor, and tells her he knows just like she does that she doesn't belong on the racetrack. Happy with himself, Storm thinks he has broken her spirits, but before he knows it, she is back and right on his tail. Ramirez gives Storm a taste of his own medicine as she distracts him with quips of her own, disorienting him. As the two racers enter the last lap and Ramirez overtakes Storm, Storm, at wit's end, angrily rams her into the wall, determined to not let her win the race. However Ramirez skillfully evades his maneuver by jumping over him and wins the race, taking away from Storm the glorious season opening he was counting on.
Much like McQueen in his early days, Storm, a prodigy of racing, is cocky, confident, and dismissive of his opponents. However, unlike McQueen who genuinely admired The King and Doc Hudson, Storm sees the older racers as an outdated generation that has to be deposed. Storm believes the future of racing belongs to him, and so is determined to beat anyone who gets in his way, whether it's an older racer like McQueen or a threatening challenger like Cruz Ramirez. Storm is a master of emotional manipulation, and will frequently use passive aggressive comments to try to break his opponents. Storm usually doesn't have to resort to any physical tactics to win, his psychological warfare and flawless technique usually being enough, but he was shown to be so bent on winning that he was willing to ram Cruz into the wall when he found himself to be genuinely challenged.
- Vehicle type: 2017 Custom-built "Next-Gen" Piston Cup Racer
- Top Speed: 214 mph
- 0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds
- Engine Type: Maximum Performance Twin Turbocharged V-8
- Horsepower: 850 hp
- Chassis: Hydroformed alloy & steel
- Body: Carbon fiber & metal composite
- Storm's voice actor, Armie Hammer, was born the same year Pixar was founded (1986).
- By winning the Piston Cup in his rookie year, Storm achieved what McQueen almost did in the first Cars film. However, it is not known whether this makes him the first rookie to win the Piston Cup, the distinction McQueen was aiming for at that time, as there could have been another racer since to have done so.