It uses technology similar to that used at Test Track in Epcot, with the exception that the vehicles race on two separate tracks. Guests race another vehicle through turns and hills, ending with a randomized race result. The attraction takes up six acres of Cars Land. It is the most expensive attraction to be built in the entire Disneyland Resort, one of the most expensive attractions Disney has ever built and one of the most expensive theme park attractions in the world at an estimated cost of over $200 million, which took up about 18% of the entire cost of the $1.1 billion expansion plan for Disney California Adventure.
The attraction, along with the rest of Disney California Adventure multi-year expansion, was announced on October 17, 2007. However, the first indication of the attraction and the new land was some concept art published in the Dreaming section of The Walt Disney Company's 2006 annual report. By late 2009, construction on the attraction and the land within had begun, taking two and a half years to build. At the "What's Next?" presentation at Disney California Adventure on June 11, 2010, Imagineer Kathy Mangum gave a brief rundown of the storyline for the attraction. Ride testing began in early 2012 with soft openings beginning in the spring. The ride officially opened to the public on June 15, 2012 with lines up to six hours.
Radiator Springs Racers is currently the most expensive attraction ever constructed in the Walt Disney Company's history.
Starting at an archway near the Radiator Springs Courthouse, the queue travels to the oldest parts of Radiator Springs to the original roadside attractions and buildings constructed by Stanley. Signs in the style of National Parks describe the geology of Ornament Valley upon a viewpoint of the Cadillac Range. Also featured are the original Radiator Springs, a natural spring emerging from a rock formation shaped like a radiator that Stanley discovered while traveling through Ornament Valley desperate for water. He built a radiator cap shop, a house partially constructed of empty oil bottles and a small hotel in the Tailight Cavern system nearby. This is where the load area is located. Sheriff provides safety instructions in English and Ramone covers them in Spanish.
After leaving the load, the cars go on a leisurely drive through Ornament Valley, traveling under an arch for a close-up view of the mountain where the waterfall bridge can be seen. Entering a tunnel, and hearing the lost Minny and Van, the cars nearly crash into Mack, avoid Minny and Van and narrowly avoid an oncoming train. Sheriff appears and tells the guests to slow down. He has Mater take guests into town to get them ready for the race, though Mater takes guests tractor-tipping first.
Escaping from an enraged Frank, they enter Radiator Springs, driving by Sarge, Fillmore, Lizzie, and Red. Between Luigi's and Ramone's Lightning McQueen and Sally greet the racers and send one of the two cars to a different building. At Luigi's the vehicles are given white-wall tires by Guido, and at Ramone's they are given a paint touchup by Ramone and Flo. Leaving the pit stops, Doc Hudson appears to give racers advice and sends them to the starting line where Luigi and Guido are excited to start off the race.
At the end of the countdown, the vehicles bolt back outside up to speeds of 40 MPH. Racing around the large radiator cap and Willy's Butte and hitting the finish line, Doc congratulates the racers for a good race and the vehicles enter Taillight Caverns, where Lightning and Mater congratulate and talk to the guests before they disembark.