- “Speed. I am speed.”
- ―Lightning ready to race.
Lightning McQueen is the protagonist of the Disney/Pixar 2006 feature film Cars, and the deuteragonist of its 2011 sequel. In Cars, McQueen is a rookie racer, tied with Chick Hicks and the King for the points lead in the Piston Cup stock car racing circuit. He is voiced by Owen Wilson in both films.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- Turning on dirt is not only harder than Lightning McQueen thought, it's also a lot more embarrassing.
- 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.
- Lightning McQueen never stops for tires, even if it means driving right through them.
- When you don't have a nose to win by, a tongue is the next best thing.
- 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.
At first, McQueen is selfish, arrogant, and over-confident as he believes that he can win the Piston Cup on his own without help from any pit crews or coach. However, he is also something of a perfectionist, and will not cease to get something done right even if it wasn't in his best interest to indulge in it in the first place, as seen when he was tasked by the townsfolk to fix the road that he himself destroyed when he first arrived at their place. After a few grudging performances in his attempts to fix the road, he finally manages to do so. His sponsors are Rust-eze, a small company selling soothing ointment for rusty old cars, which Lightning hates. However, he transforms into a more sympathetic and understanding character during his time in Radiator Springs on Route 66.
Powers and Abilities
McQueen's top speed is 200 mph, and he can go zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. He has a V-8 engine, and a horsepower of 750. On him are coil-over shocks that have 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.
- Lightning McQueen has 4 Piston Cups under his belts! He races around the world, but he calls Radiator Springs his home.
Lightning is running in the race to win the 2005 Piston Cup, with the incentive that the winner would be a great candidate for Dinoco's new mascot - their old mascot, Strip Weathers, is retiring. However during the race he denies tire changes from his pit crew, requesting only gas. But about 100 yards from his Piston Cup, his back tires blow out. Rather than winning the race, he barely manages a tie with Strip Weathers and Chick Hicks. His pit crew abandon him after he tells "Not Chuck", one of his members to get lost. Strip Weathers admonishes him for his arrogance and lack of teamwork, but Lightning doesn't listen because he is lost in thought about the joys of working for Dinoco.
Now on his way to the tie-breaker race in Los Angeles, McQueen orders his driver Mack to drive all night, but he inevitably falls asleep. McQueen ends up lost in a little ghost-town called Radiator Springs, and after tearing up their main road, is sentenced to community service to repair the road.
While he's in town he meets a selection of cars, most of them at least 30 years old. Most notably are Doc Hudson and Sally Carrera. He soon comes to realize how arrogant and selfish he's been, and that there's more to racing than just winning. He also makes friends with every car in town, especially Mater, a rusty tow-truck who chooses him as his best friend. At the end of the film, McQueen, Hicks, and The King vie for the Piston Cup in a tiebreaker race in Los Angeles.
McQueen is about to win the race by several car lengths, when 'The King' is wrecked badly by Hicks. Lightning is reminded of Doc Hudson's horrible crash that brought an end to his career, and skids to a stop just in front of the finish line. McQueen heads back down the track to save The King and help him across the finish line to give him a respectable finish for his final race, coming in third place.
Impressed by his showmanship, Dinoco offers the contract to be their mascot to Lightning rather than the now unpopular Chick Hicks, but McQueen turns it down, saying he needs to complete his contract with Rust-eze, the company who gave him his big break, first. He then sets up headquarters in Radiator Springs, drawing attention back to the little town and making it popular again and back on the map.
McQueen appears in the short, seen at Flo's V8 Cafe with the rest of the townsfolk. Seeing a tow hook behind some cans, he starts to think that it belongs to Mater, and hopes that he would not planning to scare him. However, Mater then jumps out of nowhere and freaks McQueen out, causing him to jump and knock down the rest of the cans, revealing that it was only one of Mater's signs. Mater tells McQueen that he looked like he had seen the ghostlight, to which Sheriff then tells the townsfolk a story about a couple who disappeared after coming across the ghostlight. He then informs the residents to keep their eye out for the ghostlight, before everyone, except Mater, quickly leave and say goodnight.
Shortly after arriving at his home, Mater notices a blue light behind him, believing it to be the ghostlight, and drives away in fright. It then turns out to be a prank, as McQueen and Guido have actually put a lamp on Mater's tow hook. McQueen and the townsfolk all watch as Mater continues driving around the town, until he gets tired and eventually realizes what it actually was. McQueen and the others then laugh, to which Mater sarcastically says that he knew it was a prank all along. After Sheriff and Doc tell Mater to only be scared of his imagination and the Screamin' Banshee, McQueen and everyone else quickly leave Mater and drive back to their homes to sleep.
Lightning now serves as the deuteragonist in Mater's very own show.
Each installment of Mater's Tall Tales 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 something along the lines "Don't you remember? You was there, too!" Then, Mater continues the stories, including Lightning's sudden participation, confusing him in the results. The episodes end with Mater leaves, often followed by the characters and/or references from Mater's stories, implying that the stories might be real.
In the sequel, Lightning returns as the deuteragonist.
After he wins his fourth Piston Cup, he comes back to Radiator Springs, where the townsfolk are happy to see him return, especially Mater. While McQueen is spending time at the Wheel Well Motel with Sally, Mater makes a call to the Mel Dorado Show when it features Miles Axlerod, who is aiming to promote a fuel called Allinol for improving clean energy by hosting the World Grand Prix. McQueen intervenes, and accepts the deal to be one of the racers, along with bringing Mater along following advice from Sally.
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.
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 in London, 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. Fillmore reveals that Sarge replaced Lightning's Allinol before the last race with his own organic fuel mixture, which is what prevented Lightning from being affected by the electromagnetism, 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. Lightning then sported off his new stickers saying, "Ka-Ciao Francesco", which amused his rival, before the latter added that he'll need luck to beat him. Lightning is joined by Mater on his rocket jets in the middle of the race 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.
In Spinning, he notices Guido having great skills with spinning a sign, and watches along with a crowd consisting of some visitors and most of the residents. After Guido catches the sign from the air on a set of tires, McQueen and the crowd congratulate him, before they drive away.
In The Radiator Springs 500½, he 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.
Video gamesDelinquent Road Hazards, who were ordered by Chick to steal it. After that, he wins the next Piston Cup race, and comes to an agreement to have three Grands Prix around Radiator Springs, before competing in the final Piston Cup race. He manages to win, and goes on a drive with Mater and Sally, leaving his trophy with Doc's.
McQueen appears in the cutscenes of the activities, encountering the Radiator Springs townsfolk. He is also controlled by the player in some of the activities, and in all Legends Races.
When he arrives in Tailfin Pass, he meets a Japanese drifter named Koji, and challenges him to a race. Finally, he wins in a race that is held at the new racing stadium, competing against racers such as an Italian car named Giovanni. Luigi and Guido want them to race again, to which they agree to do a team relay. Afterwards, the headquarters is finished, and McQueen and the rest of the townsfolk and visitors get together for a photo.
For each new location, McQueen gets his bodywork customized for racing against Candice, El Machismo and Stinger, who try to help Chick. Finally, he challenges Chick to the final race at the Radiator Springs Speedway, and wins the series. However, Chick vows to get back for his revenge. Meanwhile, Candice, El Machismo and Stinger apologize to McQueen for their behavior, to which he allows them to stop by the Doc Hudson Racing Academy.
McQueen would appear around the town in the now-closed online game The World of Cars Online, outside his racing headquarters, where players can buy items from. Players were also to play as McQueen in the Lightning Storm McQueen minigame that puts him against a train version of Emperor Zurg from the Toy Story franchise.
McQueen appears in the Fancy Drivin' level, where he tries to find someone to compete in his racing team. Seeing that that someone is the player, Mater sets up a challenge to do fancy driving. After the level is complete, McQueen sees that the player has done some great driving and will be perfect for being added to his team. The player can also play as McQueen in the Cars levels by collecting all the Buddy Coins in each level.Disney INFINITY. His figure comes with Holley and the piece for the Cars Play Set. In the play set, he and the townsfolk get ready for a racing event coming to Radiator Springs. A crystal figure of McQueen is also available to use in the play set and Toy Box. Both versions are compatible in the Toy Box of the second and third games, with the level cap increased to 20, and a Skill Tree added.
In the first game, McQueen has an exclusive Toy Box Adventure called Lightning's Collector Course, where the player has to collect orbs around a stunt arena.
McQueen first appears as a character that the player plays as in two tutorials at the start of the game. He is the last character to be unlocked on the Radiator Springs map, and will unlock his pit and the Doc Hudson Statue for putting around the town.
An audio-animatronic version of Lightning appears in the ride Radiator Springs Racers, first with Sally Carrera as they greet the riders while heading into either Luigi's or Ramone's, and again at the end of the ride with Mater. He wears his World Grand Prix paint job in the park and his original Rust-eze paint job on the ride.
McQueen first met Mater while he was put in the impound by Sheriff, having destroyed Radiator Springs' main road. McQueen was afraid at first when seeing Mater, due to him being a rusty vehicle, but later tried to get Mater to take him out of the impound by suggesting a cruise around the town. When Mater later took him tractor tipping, McQueen was unimpressed at first, but then enjoyed it after being given a try, although they had to immediately leave when they caught the attention of Frank.
After seeing Mater show his ability of driving backwards, McQueen explained to him about the Piston Cup, but when he mentioned that he will have a sponsor that has no rusty cars, he tried not to hurt Mater's feelings by saying that he meant other vehicles, but liked Mater. It was then that McQueen and Mater began to develop a friendship, later becoming best friends. However, McQueen can sometimes get frustrated with Mater for several things, such as when Mater tells him stories about what he did in the past, to which McQueen would not believe, especially when they have himself suddenly participating, before seeing references to Mater's stories that suggest they are true.
In Cars 2, it is shown that McQueen had never brought Mater to any of his races, but he decided to take him along for the World Grand Prix after being given advice from Sally. However, McQueen had concerns about Mater still doing his regular behavior while outside Radiator Springs, and tried to get Mater to act different while in different places. He was later angered after Mater was thought to have leaked oil, which is the car equivalent of urinating, while in front of the press, and got frustrated after losing the race in Tokyo when he heard Mater talking nonsense, not knowing that Mater was being directed by Finn and Holley away from the lemons.
Becoming fed up of what Mater had done, McQueen said that he did not want his help, which made Mater decide to go back to Radiator Springs. However, this left McQueen and his team saddened, as he did not actually want Mater to leave, but felt calm when knowing that Mater would be safe if he is back in Radiator Springs.
When he came into the pits while racing in London, McQueen was glad to spot Mater at his pit garage, but Mater tried to drive away. Not wanting to lose his friend again, McQueen went after Mater, telling him that what he said before did not matter anymore, and grabbed onto his tow hook. As soon as this happened, McQueen was pulled along when Mater used a pair of rockets to keep away, as someone had planted a bomb on him, which McQueen did not know about until the spies came and tried to take it off.
When Mater explained that he was unsure about telling anyone who activated the bomb, McQueen told him to keep behaving his normal way anywhere and that anyone who are not taking him seriously would instead have to change. After the bomb was turned off by the lemons' mastermind Axlerod, McQueen declared to Mater that he is allowed to come to all of his races, remaining as best friends. While racing in the Radiator Springs Grand Prix, McQueen was joined by Mater after Finn and Holley allowed him to keep his rockets, and agreed to see him at the finish line by racing him as well.
McQueen first met Sally when he was accused by the townsfolk in the Radiator Springs City Hall, and started to develop feelings for her. However, he was left unhappy with her when Doc ordered him to repair the main road, because it was a request by her to make sure people can get to Radiator Springs.
While he was fixing the road with Bessie, Sally had got Red to wash pieces of cactus off of him, to which he did not understand why she had Red do that. Sally explained that he needs to be clean if he wants to stay in the Cozy Cone Motel, and she was offering him to stay in one of the cones, to which McQueen started to realize that she was being nice to him.
The next day, Sally invited McQueen for a drive, which had them driving up toward the Wheel Well Motel. He learnt that Sally had originally spent her life in California, but it did not work out for her, so she decided to leave the state and kept on driving before breaking down in Radiator Springs, and was helped out by the townsfolk. McQueen was then informed by Sally that she never left the town because she fell in love with the view of Radiator Springs from Wheel Well, and seeing Interstate 40 in the distance, Sally explained to McQueen that before it was made, people came to visit Radiator Springs, but forgot all about it when it was bypassed.
By the end of the first film, McQueen and Sally were shown to have become a couple, as McQueen arrived at the Wheel Well to inform her that Radiator Springs had been put back on the map.
In Hiccups, when McQueen had received the hiccups, Sally managed to cure them by kissing him on the side, to which he thanked her.
McQueen was nervous at first when Doc first appeared, as he was wondering what was going to happen after he was accused for destroying Radiator Springs' main road. He was glad at first when Doc wanted him to leave the town, but when he changed his mind after Sally requested to have McQueen fix the road, he felt unhappy.
He did not get well with Doc for his quote of driving like he fixes roads, but upon later seeing that he had won three Piston Cup trophies, McQueen was impressed by the fact that Doc used to be a racer in the Piston Cup, although Doc was unhappy of him learning his past. McQueen was left wondering why Doc would quit, to which Doc revealed that he had a crash one year after winning his third Piston Cup.
- 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 beloved 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'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.
- After Lightning's redesign in Cars 2, he has working headlights instead of stickers. However, Sally still calls him "Stickers."
- 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. In Spanish, "rayo" means "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."
- Lightning McQueen uses Lightyear brand tires (as opposed to Goodyear), which is a reference to Buzz Lightyear from another Disney-Pixar movie, Toy Story.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 "Car Finder" (supplementary material on Blu-ray Disc release of Cars). 2007. Blu-ray Disc. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.
- ↑ Cars 2: New International Poster + Character Shots! [UPDATE]
- ↑ 'Cars 2' Introduces Nearly 1,000 New Characters and More Fun Facts (Minor Spoilers)
- ↑ A grease geek will guide you: `Cars' decoded
- ↑ Spanish Cars 2 site