"Sterling is a brilliant businesscar who runs Rust-Eze Racing Center—one of the most successful elite training facilities in the country. Despite his dapper appearance and obvious wealth, Sterling comes across as unassuming and laid back. But business is business, and Sterling is driven to ensure all of his investments pay off."
Sterling is a Lightning McQueen fan who buys Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment and the company gives him a racing center for next-gen racers and is prepared to bring Lightning back to the racing world. He introduces Lightning to the center's trainer, Cruz Ramirez, and assigns her to train Lightning, only for him to skip the exercise and fail the simulator. Sterling is forced to retire Lightning but offers him to be part of a brand, but he rather keeps arguing Sterling into allowing him to race in the Florida 500. He is convinced but does not like taking chances, so he sends in Cruz. When Lightning is absent at the race, Sterling explains Lightning is taking an "unconventional" approach. When Lightning arrives to race, Sterling notices Cruz and tells her she needs to train Ronald for the race next week and escorts her out. However, Cruz is called back by McQueen, having seen Cruz upset after leaving, and remembers how she wanted to be a racer so during the pit stop Cruz is outfitted with Lightning's racing equipment but Sterling argues against this, though Smokey explains only the number must be in the race, not who wears it, and so Cruz wins and beats Jackson Storm and after this she quits working for Sterling. He then tells Lightning they need to photo-shoot the next day, before Tex Dinoco gave Sterling a "Texas-sized offer" to sell Rust-Eze to him.
According to Nathan Fillion, Sterling tries to be "interested", not "interesting", and says things that actually sound "charming". Although Sterling presents himself as a friendly and considerate person, his main concern is that his business ventures are successful. He approaches problems in terms of financial gain and doesn't get involved at the personal level. His charm appears to be a façade to maintain a friendly relation with his clients. This is shown chiefly when Sterling introduces himself to Lightning McQueen as a fan but is more concerned about Lightning's brand than Lightning's desires. Sterling is shown to become very severe if his subordinates do not follow through with his planning, as shown by his anger when Cruz Ramirez steps out of line. Nevertheless, since he puts business before everything else, Sterling quickly changes his tone when Cruz goes from disobeying his orders to winning the Florida 500.
- According to director Brian Fee, Sterling's design was made to feel timeless, and takes inspiration from European cars of the '60s, which Fee describes as "incredibly stylish, with almost a dainty quality. Small, kind of sporty, extremely confident", qualities which he found reflected well Sterling's personality.
- The design is very similar to the BMW CS Homage design with the exception of the elimination of the kidney grille to disguise it