Cameos, in-jokes, re-used animation and other trivia for Cars 3.

References to Cars

  • The opening scene of the film mirrors the opening of the first movie. Lightning is saying his "Speed, I am speed!" routine from the first movie, accompanied with the same kind of cuts from black to racing cars.
  • Lightning McQueen‘s paint job is a mix between his original rookie paint job and his World Grand Prix paint job.
  • A lot of the soundtrack in the film is recreated from the first film's soundtrack.
  • The movie opens with a race at the Motor Speedway of the South, like the first film.
  • The Los Angeles International Speedway also reappears, this time as the track where Lightning has his fateful crash.
  • The Dinoco 400 reappears in Cars 3, except that it was in Copper Canyon Speedway and not Motor Speedway of the South.
  • Lightning's crash mirrors the crash of The King (and by extension the crash of Doc Hudson) in the way he tumbles sideways on a considerable distance.
  • The scene of Doc explaining the aftermath of his crash to Lightning is replayed in a flashback.
  • Mater’s sneeze is the same sneeze that Snot Rod makes in the beginning of the first Cars film.
  • The film includes early on a musical montage of Mack riding on the highway through various landscapes, when he takes Lightning, Luigi, and Guido to the Rust-eze Racing Center in Florida.
  • While in Thunder Hollow, Lightning says, "Turn right to go left!" twice, referencing his take on Doc's advice to Lightning about drifting. Also, just like Lightning in the original film, Cruz Ramirez doesn't understand what he means by this at first.
  • When Mr. Drippy, the water truck at the Thunder Hollow demolition derby, falls on his side, he makes the same noise as the tractors when they tip over.
  • When Mater does FaceTime with Lightning on his iPad, he shows one eye similar to how he showed one eye while Sheriff said to keep an eye on Lightning in the first film.
  • The flashbacks sequence ends with Doc saying, "You've got a lot of stuff, kid.", which is a reused piece of dialogue from the first film after the race in Los Angeles.
  • Near the end of the movie when several next-generation race cars are being interviewed about the disappearance of Lightning, one of the racers, Ryan Laney, says, "Didn't he pull this when he was a rookie?" referencing the events of the first movie where Lightning got lost in Radiator Springs on his way to the Los Angeles International Speedway.
  • Before the last race in both films, Lightning does his pre-race routine only to lose his focus over external thoughts. This time, it is over thoughts of if he will win, while it was over thoughts of Radiator Springs in the first film.
  • The final race at the Florida International Speedway has many parallels to the tie-breaker race in Cars. Some of the most notable are Cruz Ramirez having to race past the pace car named Pat Traxson to enter the track, the surprise arrival of a crew chief (Doc Hudson in Cars, Lightning in Cars 3), and Cruz having to use a technique showcased by Doc earlier in the film to pass her rival racer.
  • The crash caused by Cam Spinner in at the Florida 500 is similar to the crash caused by Chick at the Dinoco 400 in the first film.
  • After the final race, Lightning says about Cruz that "she's got a lot of stuff!" mirroring what Doc told Lightning following the tie-breaker race in Cars.
  • At the end of the film, Cruz Ramirez jokingly calls Lightning McQueen an old man, like Lightning did with Doc Hudson at the end of the original film.

References to Cars 2

  • At the beginning of the film, Mater says, "Go, McQueen!!!! Woo-hoo", the same line he used at the end of the second film during the Radiator Springs Grand Prix.
  • Lightning McQueen's paint job contains elements from his World Grand Prix design, most notably the lightning bolts on his sides fading into flames.
  • In Cars 2, Lightning promised Mater at the end of the movie that he can go to all his races from now on, and in Cars 3, Mater is at every single race that Lightning enters.
  • Lightning's argument with Cruz about her making him lose the race at Thunder Hollow is similar to his and Mater's argument after the race in Tokyo for the exact same purpose.
  • While on the simulator, Lightning makes the same scream from when Mater's parachute is deployed while they are traveling to Buckingham Palace.
  • Sterling has what appears to be a small picture of Miles Axlerod in his office. Interestingly, both characters are business-cars.
  • When Lightning McQueen is watching TV inside of the sleeping Mack, John and Nancy, the couple in France, can be seen kissing on the bridge in the commercial he is watching.
  • Jeff Gorvette, a character from Cars 2, is seen at the Florida International Speedway in Cars 3. He is the only character from that film to return in Cars 3. In Cars 3, before the Florida 500, Jeff tells Lightning to "win one for us old guys".
  • Lightning McQueen retains his real headlights, which were installed for the World Grand Prix in the previous film. 
  • The wreck in the Florida 500 is similar to the wreck at the end of the Porto Corsa race.


  • Mater's license plate, like in every Cars film and piece of merchandise, is A113.
  • Two racers sponsored by TripleDent Gum, the gum company from Inside Out, can be seen in one of the races. Their names are Terry Kargas and Cam Spinner.
  • On promotional images for the film, Shannon Spokes' press number is shown to be A113.
  • During a montage showing Jackson Storm's victories, a track sponsored by BnL (Buy n Large) from WALL•E is briefly shown in the film. The logo is also seen during the credits.
  • The image Cruz Ramirez displays for the homesick trainee is Miguel's hometown from Coco.
    • Coincidentally, Coco was released later month (November) than the Cars 3 while Coco still has film production.
  • A113 is prominently featured as Sterling's office number.
  • The tree from A Bug's Life makes an appearance in Sterling's office.
  • A miniature of Cinderella's carriage from the 1950 Disney movie of the same name appears on a shelf in Sterling's office.
  • A few allusions to Apple are made:
    • Cruz's training machine that she brings to the beach has the Macintosh start up sound, which can also be heard in WALL•E as the titular character's start up sound.
    • Both the veteran and the next-gen racers sponsored by Apple and bearing the number 84 participates in the Florida 500.
    • The devices Mater and Lightning use to chat have Apple design cues. Mater‘s device says iPad on it.
  • Todd the Pizza Planet Truck can be seen in the Demolition Derby race as a competitor. His roof rocket is briefly featured when it flies off into the crowd after he ends up in a crash.
    • Also in the Demolition Derby, there's a race car that's ramming another car that has the pattern of the Luxo Ball on its hood, left and right sides of the car.
  • The billboard on the bridge under which Mack sleeps is advertising the Sleep Well Motel, the motel that Bonnie Anderson and her toys stayed at in Toy Story of Terror!.
  • The Shiny Guitar from Coco can be seen hung on the wall behind the band playing at the Cotton Pin Bar in Thomasville.
  • In the flashback scene where Doc balances a stack of objects on his hood, he tells Lightning, "You might want to take notes on this one." This is a reused line of dialogue from Cars: The Video Game of Doc overtaking another car in a race.


Other trivia

At the Thunder Hollow Speedway, Mack disguises himself as a representent of "Jocko Flocko's Party Supplies". Jocko Flocko is the name of a rhesus monkey that served as the co-pilot of Tim Flock, a racer from the '50s and one of the drivers of the real-life Fabulous Hudson Hornet.

  • The render farm being utilized to render Cars 3 runs more than 60,000 cores. The memory the average core is 10 gigabytes, compared to the 4 gigabytes per core recently used for Inside Out.[1]
  • This is the first Cars film that doesn't feature or mention Mia and Tia.
  • Five areas in the southeast U.S. were visited to research the history of stock-car racing: the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina,  Occoneechee State Park and Speedway, Daytona International Speedway in Florida, and the Sonoma Speedway.[1]
  • 85 percent of the clouds in Cars 3 came from the cloud library for The Good Dinosaur.[1]
  • 81,924 storyboards were created during the production of the movie, although only 10,102 made it into the final sequences.[1]
  • This is the only time in the Cars franchise in which Lightning McQueen doesn't say his famous catchphrase "Ka-Chow!".
  • During the demolition derby at Thunder Hollow, a taxicab shouts to Lightning McQueen "Hey! I'm drivin' here!" moments before being hit by another car. This line is a parody of the famous line "Hey! I'm walkin' here!" from the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy, where it was spoken by Ratzo Rizzo after he is almost hit by a taxicab.
  • This is the second Cars film to be composed by Randy Newman, as Michael Giacchino composed Cars 2.
  • This is the first Cars film not to be directed by John Lasseter.
  • This is the first Cars film to use the 2011 Disney logo.
  • Cars 3 marks the second time a Pixar franchise has become a trilogy, after Toy Story 3.

Deleted Scenes

The Boogie Woogie

During the beach race at Fireball Beach, where McQueen and Cruz raced with each other. Originally, when McQueen and Cruz repeated racing, Cruz was doing some exercises called "The Boogie Woogie". This scene was removed due to being too pointless.

Lug Nuts

In this scene, Cruz explains to McQueen that she wanted to originally be a racer, but ended up being a trainer.

Jars of Dirt

An alternate scene about McQueen and Cruz arguing about when Cruz won in the Thunder Hollow race. She had jars of pictures of his inspirations for racing, which McQueen found.

The Bolt

An alternate scene where McQueen trains Cruz to a racer. After Cruz had learned from McQueen, she went to the track of Thomasville Speedway, where she drew a lighting bolt on the ground and praising McQueen, McQueen was eavesdropping and Cruz explained McQueen that she is a big fan of McQueen.

More Than New Paint

An alternate ending, where Rust-eze Racing team owner Sterling would have realized that Cruz Ramirez, McQueen’s trainer, was the one more fit for the track. In this scene, Sterling corners McQueen in a garage and tells him that it’s time to quit competing. 

Sterling takes the pragmatic view that McQueen can become an even bigger brand after he stops racing. McQueen could make even more doing sponsorships than racing could ever offer, Sterling argues. McQueen wants to race, though. He has no interest in pitching tires.

At the end of the scene, Sterling strips off McQueen’s racing numbers and says that he’s no longer on the entry list. Ramirez will take McQueen’s place.

This scene would have robbed McQueen of a lot of agency in the film by making a third party decide for him to quit racing rather than coming to that conclusion naturally.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Getting Geeky With Lightning McQueen - 'Cars 3' Fun-Facts, June 7, 2017.
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