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Lightning McQueen

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Lighting mcqueen
Performer: Owen Wilson (films, Cars: The Video Game, Mater and the Ghostlight, Kinect Fun Labs: Kinect Rush - A Disney Pixar Adventures: Snapshot and Cars: Fast as Lightning)
Keith Ferguson (Cars Toons)
Appeared in: Cars
Cars 2
Mater and the Ghostlight
Cars Toons (except Bugged)
Cars 3
Lightning McQueen Turntable00:25

Lightning McQueen Turntable

"Speed. I am speed."
—Lightning McQueen

Lightning McQueen (or simply known as "Stickers", as Sally usually refers to him as) is the protagonist of Cars, and the deuteragonist of Cars 2.


Lightning is a red racecar sponsored by Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment ("With Just a Little Rust-eze, you can look like Lightning McQueen!"). McQueen's model is a 2006 handmade race car - one of a kind.


Lightning McQueen's sponsors logo.

He is number 95 in the movie, and at the beginning of the movie, he is racing his first Piston Cup race in Nashville, Tennessee, and is winning. However, when he foolishly refused a new set of tires, cause his current rear ones to blow out, he narrowly sticks his tongue out, making a three-way tie with Strip "The King" Weathers and Chick Hicks.

At first, McQueen is obnoxious, selfish, and rude to everyone, having fired three crew chiefs and got his pit crew to furiously resign, but one night, on the way to Los Angeles, CA for the rematch, he is accidentally separated from his transporter, Mack, after a quartet of tuner cars bump Mack's trailer, causing the racecar to fall out. When McQueen wakes up he notices that Mack is gone, and tries to follow him only to lose him in the process, and after a turn of events including almost being hit by a train and running into a grumpy Peterbilt, ends up in Radiator Springs where he accidentally tears up the main road and is arrested by Sheriff, who then tells him, "Boy, you're in a heap of trouble."

The next morning, McQueen is put on trial, where Doc Hudson, the judge, want him out of town at first, but eventually changes his mind and has McQueen be forced to fix the road as punishment. While McQueen is still trying to fix the road, he eventually starts to know more about Radiator Springs and its inhabitants, including befriending a tow truck named Mater and falling in love with a sports car named Sally Carrera, who owns the Cozy Cone Motel.

McQueen then eventually realizes that Doc Hudson is actually a former racecar, the Fabulous Hudson Hornet whose career ended after Doc suffered a severe accident one day and won four Piston Cups prior, and that Radiator Springs was once a popular tourist attraction, but eventually lost popularity due to the construction of Interstate 40.

Shortly after fixing the road, McQueen decides to stay at Radiator Springs much longer to help everyone out, only for Mack and several camera cars to eventually find him and send him to Los Angeles so that he can participate in the race. During the race, McQueen couldn't stop thinking of Radiator Springs, causing him to lose focus. However, he was surprised to see Doc, having put on his Fabulous Hudson Hornet stickers back on, and most of the Radiator Springs residents excluding Sally, Red and Lizzie, have to arrived as his pit crew. Inspired by Doc's words of encouragement, McQueen races back onto the track with renewed confidence. When Hicks attempted to knock him off course, he immediately performs several moves that Doc showed him during a race against him at Willy's Butte and Mater's method of backwards driving.

During the final lap, when he came close to crossing the finish line and winning the Piston Cup, he spotted Hicks violently shoving Strip off track and leaving him badly injured. Reminded of what happened to Doc when he got injured and washed-out, McQueen stopped before the finish line and went back to help Strip across the finish line, allowing Hicks to win. While Hicks experienced a hollow victory, being condemned by the fans and the media, McQueen was praised for his sportsmanship, so much that Tex Dinoco offered to sponsor him as Dinoco's mascot. Though it was everything McQueen ever dreamed of, he politely declined to stay with his Rust-eze sponsors. Tex respected his decision and reminded that he'll be willing to do a favor for him. McQueen cashed in that favor by arranging for Mater to having a helicopter ride.

McQueen then decided to establish his racing headquarters in Radiator Springs, putting the town back on the map. He entered in a relationship with Sally and came under Doc's tutelage, learning the old racecar's racing tricks.

Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales

Lightning now serves as the deuteragonist in Mater's very own show.

The show begins with Mater telling Lightning what he used to be and did in the past. However, Lightning never believes Mater (as he wasn't there), and whenever he asks Mater if the stories really happened, Mater will always say, "Don't you remember? You was there, too!". Then, Mater continues the stories, including Lightning's sudden participation. The episodes end with Mater leaving, often followed by the characters and/or references from Mater's stories, implying that the stories might be real. Here, McQueen is often shown getting hurt or getting some other predicament (such as being chased by bulldozers and being trapped in a burning building) in some of Mater's stories, although not always.

Cars 2

In the sequel, Lightning returns, but as a deuteragonist.

Racecar Lightning McQueen returns to Radiator Springs

Carslightning headlight

McQueen racing in Tokyo, Japan for the WGP (World Grand Prix)

This time around, Lightning is racing in the first ever World Grand Prix to determine who's the world's fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours, and hilarious surprises.

"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 long racing season, resulting him winning his fourth Piston Cup, Lightning returns home to Radiator Springs to enjoy the summer. All of his friends excitedly greet him, but none so more than Mater, eager to have a fun-filled summer with him. After an entire day involving riding on railway tracks with no tires and tipping over an enormous haul truck, Lightning politely tells Mater that he wants to enjoy the evening with his girlfriend Sally. However, Mater suddenly pretends to be a waiter at Wheel Well Motel as an excuse to hang out with his friends. After sending Mater off to get his usual drink (which Mater did not know), the couple notice a crowd gather inside the bar. Deciding to find out what's going on, they spot Francesco Bernoulli on TV, insulting both him and Mater over the phone. Lightning pulls Mater away from the phone before he could embarrass himself and anyone else further, making snug comebacks at Francesco that rile him and make him left the stage. Miles Axlerod suggests that the two racers settle their dispute in the World Grand Prix, a high profile, three-part exhibition race that Axlerod previously extended an invitation to Lighting. As Luigi, Guido, Sarge and Fillmore volunteer to fill in as his pit crew once more, Lightning gladly accepted the challenge. Sally then suggested bringing Mater along, as Lightning had never brought him to any of his races. Despite his reluctance, Lightning gives in to Sally's reasoning and invites Mater along.

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.
Hudson Hornetpiston cup

New paint job on hood of Lightning McQueen

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."[1]

During a race against several other competitors including an Italian car named Francesco Bernoulli, Lightning unexpectedly loses the race in Tokyo after Mater is unexpectedly mistaken for a spy and therefore abandoning his position as crew chief, unintentionally give him. McQueen gets mad at Mater and claims that he doesn't need or want his help anymore, causing the tow truck to feel dejected. The next morning, Lightning and the others discover a farewell note from Mater, apologizing for what he had done. Lightning then reassured himself and his friends that at least Mater will be safe back home. Little that he knew that Mater had been mistaken from a spy and was caught up in a plot involving Lemon cars and the race.

As Team Lightning McQueen arrive in Luigi and Guido's home town in Italy, a depressed Lightning began to feel guilty over his fight with Mater. Luigi's Uncle Topolino tells him that he has been too harsh on Mater and should accept him for who he is.

In Porto Corsa for the second race, Lightning manages to win one over on Francesco. However, they then spot most of the other racecars having suffered engine damage from the Allinol fuel in their tanks exploding. Though Axlerod is forced to suspend Allinol's use from the final race in London, Lightning announced that he would continue to use Allinol, stating that Fillmore said it was safe. Unknown to him, the Lemons decided to target and kill him during the final race to fully discredit Allinol.

Lightning later called Radiator Springs to talk to Mater, only to learn that he didn't return home. In response, Sally and the others joined him in London, Sheriff and Sarge departing their company to consult respectively with Scotland Yard and the British Military to find Mater. He was then personally approached by Axlerod, who thanked him for giving Allinol another chance. When Sally reminded him that Mater would want him to race, Lightning resolved to race in his best friend's name.

In the middle of the race, Lightning spotted Mater in the pits, only for the latter to desperately drive away from him. He chases Mater through the streets, trying to apologize, not knowing that he had a bomb in his engine. After the chase, they hear from Professor Z that it's voice activated and can only be deactivated by the one who activated it in the first place. Mater soon realizes that Miles Axlerod is the criminal behind the World Grand Prix, but is worried that nobody will believe him. Then, Lightning tells him what he learned, and Mater goes to the palace and forces Miles to deactivate the bomb. For that, Lightning decides to bring Mater to all his races from now on.

After Mater is formally knighted by the Queen, everyone returns to Radiator Springs, where they receive a visit from Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell. Lightning then questioned why the Lemons' EMP camera didn't ignite the Allinol in his tank, to which the spycars had no answer. They all turn to Fillmore, who admitted that Sarge switched his Allinol with Fillmore's organic fuel, hence why Lightning didn't explode.

As all the WGP racers are invited for the Radiator Springs Grand Prix, Lightning and Francesco's rivalry had toned down, as they both agreed that the race is better off without cameras or press. As he turned to introduce the Italian to Sally, Francesco quickly addressed her and stated that Lightning is the luckiest car to have her as his girlfriend, before adding that he'll need luck to beat him. Lightning then sported off his new stickers saying, "Ka-Ciao Francesco", which amused his rival.

In the middle of the race, Mater joins the racers on his rocket jets and races Lightning for first place as the film ends.

During the credits, Lightning and Mater are seen visiting many places around the world before returning home.

Cars 3

McQueen is scheduled to return in Cars 3 as the protagonist, where he will be racing rookies in the Florida 500.[2]


Originally cocky and self-centered, Lightning's personality was changed into a caring and nice person with lots of friends - to which he is very loyal and kind. Though nice and pleasant, Lightning can be a bit selfish and self-centered sometimes. He is also brave, courageous, and daring.



  • Top speed: 200 mph
  • Zero to 60: 3.2 seconds
  • Engine: V-8
  • Horsepower: 750 (even though he says he has 900 HP)

Lightning 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.[3]


  • His racing number, "95", is a reference to the year 1995, when Pixar's first feature-length film, Toy Story was released. Originally, his number was going to be 57, which is the year John Lasseter was born.
  • Lightning's last name "McQueen" is a reference to Glenn McQueen, a supervising animator at Pixar who passed away in 2002.
  • In the first official teaser trailer of Cars 2, for unknown reasons, Lightning McQueen has on his original Rust-eze customization, which never appeared in the sequel. It may be because the new paint job wasn't finalized at the time of the release of the teaser trailer.
  • Lightning, along with other countless versions of him, have been released in the Cars, Cars Toons, and Cars 2 Die-Cast Lines.
  • According to a Storytellers Book, Lightning's original sponsor was Smell Swell before Rust-eze.
  • In Toy Story 3, in the Caterpillar Room at Sunnyside Daycare, you can see one of the kids with a white T-shirt with red sleeves and has in the middle of the shirt the 95 racing number with the lightning bolt of Lightning McQueen. A toy similar to Lightning can also be seen.
    Lightning McQueen in TS3

    Lightning McQueen in Toy Story 3

  • Lightning's back bumper is yellow. This follows NASCAR's tradition of putting yellow rookie stripes on rookie drivers' cars.
  • Lightning's design was inspired by stock cars, and a more curvaceous Le Mans endurance racers.[4]

    McQueen's new working headlights

  • After Lightning's redesign in Cars 2, he has working headlights instead of stickers. However, Sally still calls him "Stickers."
  • Capture plein écran 2011-06-17 145045
    In Tokyo, an advertisement for a vacuum cleaner named "Lightning McClean" is seen.
  • Lightning has several names in other languages:
    • His Spanish name is Rayo McQueen.[5] In Spanish, "rayo" means "lightning", "beam" or "ray."
    • His French name is Flash McQueen.
    • In Polish, he is called Zygzak McQueen. (z-ih-g-z-ah-k) The word "zygzak" means "zigzag" in Polish.
    • His Danish name is Lynet McQueen. The Danish word "lynet" means "the lightning."
    • His Dutch name is Bliksem McQueen. The Dutch word "bliksem" means "lightning."
    • His Italian name is Saetta McQueen. The Italian word "saetta" means "flash of lightning."
    • His Swedish name is Blixten McQueen. The Swedish word "Blixten" means "the flash."
    • His Albanian name is Vetëtima McQueen. The Albanian word "Vetëtima" means "lightning."
    • His Portuguese name is Faísca McQueen. The Portuguese word "faísca" means "spark."
    • His Finnish name is Salama McQueen. The Finnish word "salama" means "lightning bolt."
    • His Hungarian name is Villám McQueen. The Hungarian word "villám" means "lightning".
  • Lightning and his girlfriend Sally appear in Radiator Springs Racers as audio-animatronics who greet guests in their ride vehicle. They announce the qualities that a racing champion needs and who can provide the tire changes by Luigi and Guido or paint refreshes by Flo and Ramone, while the computer controls the way that the ride vehicle turns into each character's business.
  • Lightning McQueen has 14 different paint variants, ranging from subtly different amounts of dirt and dust to the completely new paint jobs near the end of the film.[6]
  • In Planes: Fire & Rescue, Mayday uses Lightning's famous catchphrase: "Ka-chow!", although the home video subtitles say that he is sneezing.
  • A 1:55 scale die-cast of Lightning McQueen, along with Chick Hicks and Brush Curber, is used for one of the exhibit elements at The Science Behind Pixar.


—Lightning McQueen's catchphrase.

From Cars

Dusty Rust-eze: "Ladies and gentlemen..."
Dusty and Rusty Rust-eze: "...Lightning McQueen!"
Car Voice: "Freebird!"
Dusty Rust-eze and Rusty Rust-eze announcing Lightning McQueen

From Cars 2

Lightning McQueen: "Mater!"
Mater: "Hey, McQueen! What happened? Is the race over? You won, right?"
Lightning McQueen: "Mater, why were you yelling things at me while I was racing?"
Mater: "Yellin'? Oh, you thought... Oh! That's funny right there. Naw. See,t hat's 'cause I seen these 2 fellers doing some sort of karate street performance. It was nutso. One of 'em even had a flamethrower."
Lightning McQueen (confused): "A flamethrower? What are you talking about? I - I don't understand. Where were you?"
Mater: "Going to meet my date."
Lightning McQueen: "Your date?"
Mater: "She started talkin' to me as a voice in my head, tellin' me where to go. . ."
Lightning McQueen: "What?!"
Mater: "Wait a minute. I didn't screw you up, did I?"
Lightning McQueen (furious): "I LOST THE RACE BECAUSE OF YOU!"
Mater: "Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. . ."
Lightning McQueen: "An imaginary girlfriend? Flamethrowers?! You know-- this is exactly why I don't bring you along to these things!"
Mater: "Maybe if I, I don't know, talk to somebody, and explain what happened, I could help."
Lightning McQueen: "I don't need your help! I don't want your help!" (drives away; the press turns to McQueen)
Reporter: McQueen, you had it in the bag! What happened?
Lightning McQueen: I-I made a mistake. But I can assure you, it won't happen again. Look, people we know what the problem is, and we've taken care of it.
(Mater drives off, sad and guilty)
—McQueen gets mad at Mater for causing him to lose the race.
Uncle Topolino: "Hey, race car. You look so down, so low. Is like you have flat tires."
Mama Topolino: (something in Italian)
Uncle Topolino: "She said, you look like you are starving, that she's gonna make you a big meal and fatten you up."
Lightning McQueen: "Oh, no. Uh, Mama Topolino, please, you don't need to make a fuss. . ." (sighs as Mama Topolino drives into the building)
Uncle Topolino: "Capisco (Italian for 'I see'). I understand. Is a problem, yes, between you and a friend?"
Lightning McQueen: "How did you know that?"
Uncle Topolino: "A wise car hears 1 word and understands 2. . . That, and Luigi told me. While Mama cooks, come and take a stroll with me."
Lightning McQueen: "I brought my friend, Mater, along on the trip, and I told him he needed to act different that we weren't in Radiator Springs."
Uncle Topolino: "This Mater is a close friend?"
Lightning McQueen: "He's my best friend."
Uncle Topolino: "Then why would you ask him to be someone else?"
Lightning McQueen: (thinking for a moment) "What did I do? I said some things during our fight."
Uncle Topolino: "You know, back when Guido and Luigi used to work for me, they would fight over everything. They fight over what Ferrari was the best Ferrari, which one of them looked more like a Ferrari. There were even some non-Ferrari fights. So I tell them, 'Va bene (Italian for 'It's okay'), it's okay to fight. Everybody fights now and then, especially best friends. But you got to make up fast. No fight more important than friendship.'" (during what Uncle Topolino said, Luigi and Guido were fighting over who should dance with the girl, then another girl came, and they danced one with one girl)
Uncle Topolino: (something in Italian)
Lightning McQueen: "What does that mean?"
Mama Topolino: "'Whoever find a friend, find a treasure.' Now, mangia (Italian for 'eat'). Eat!"
(Uncle Topolino and Mama Topolino drive away, conversing in Italian)
—Uncle Topolino gives Lightning some wise advice.


From Cars

From Cars 2

From Cars Toons


Concept Art



Cars 2


  1. Cars 2: New International Poster + Character Shots! [UPDATE]
  2. Sneak peek: 'Cars 3' zooms ahead with new character Cruz Ramirez
  3. 'Cars 2' Introduces Nearly 1,000 New Characters and More Fun Facts (Minor Spoilers)
  4. A grease geek will guide you: `Cars' decoded
  5. Spanish Cars 2 site
  6. The Science Behind Pixar Fun Facts

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