Ten Things You May Not Know About Lightning McQueen

by | Apr 9, 2018 | Lists and Trivia

Steve McQueen?
Old-time movie fans might think that Lightning McQueen was named after actor Steve McQueen. It would make sense, as McQueen was an on-screen costar of Paul Newman’s (who of course provided the voice of Doc Hudson), and he was also an avid race car enthusiast. However, Lightning was actually named after Pixar animator Glenn McQueen who sadly passed away in 2002.

The Champ
Lightning may have passed up his chance for a Piston Cup in the movie Cars , but don’t feel badly for him. He went on to win four consecutive Piston Cups, from 2007 to 2010.

The Piston Cup and a Legendary Hero
And what did he do with that first trophy once he had won? Put it on display in his trophy room? No, he decided to pay homage to his mentor and friend, Doc Hudson, and left the Cup in Doc’s clinic alongside the Hudson Hornet’s own three Piston Cups.

The Story Behind Lightning’s Number
You probably know that Lightning McQueen’s number is 95, but it wasn’t always going to be that. His number was originally 57, which is the year director John Lasseter was born. Incidentally, 95 represents the year that Toy Story, Pixar’s first feature film, was released.

The Wheels on the Ground Go Round and Round…
A fast car needs fast wheels! The tires that Lightning uses are Buzzard models manufactured by Lightyear. A reference to Buzz Lightyear? Of course, though the name is also a sly reference to the real Goodyear “Eagle” tires used in NASCAR. Incidentally, if you look closely you can see the Lightyear Blimp floating in the sky during the film’s race scenes!

Mmm, Fettuccini
Lightning’s tires get an upgrade during his stay in Radiator Springs thanks to Guido and Luigi. And what is the make of those beautiful whitewalls? Why, Fettuccini Alfredo, which of course is also the name of the delicious white sauce beloved in Italian cuisine.

In a nod to NASCAR tradition, Lightning McQueen sports a yellow “rookie stripe” on his rear bumper during his first Piston Cup race.

The Need for Computer Speed
Lightning McQueen was certainly a powerful car, and it took powerful computers to bring him to life…so powerful in fact that they were 1,000 times faster than those used in Toy Story. No detail was unimportant, and to that end the animation team used computer models similar to those used for real-life automobiles.

Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson’s performance as Lightning McQueen earned him a nomination for Favorite Movie Animated Voice in the 2012 People’s Choice Awards.

Radiator Springs Comes to California
If you’ve ever dreamed of racing alongside Lightning McQueen, your dream can come true! Radiator Springs Racers is a new attraction at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Guests are briefed by Doc Hudson and Lightning himself before finding themselves in the middle of a high-speed race featuring hairpin turns and steep banks. The attraction was one of the most expensive that Disney has ever built, with an estimated cost of over $200 million. (Still, that pales in comparison to the budget for the first Cars film, which came in at $320 million!)