Cars 2 is a 2011 American Computer-animated action comedy spy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film is the Sequel to the 2006 film Cars. In the film, race car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and tow truck Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) head to Japan and Europe to compete in the World Grand Prix, but Mater becomes sidetracked with international espionage. The film is directed by John Lasseter, co-directed by Brad Lewis, written by Ben Queen, and produced by Denise Ream.
The film was distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and was released in the United States on June 24, 2011 (five years after the first film). The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D, as well as traditional two-dimensional and IMAX formats. The film was first announced in 2008, alongside Up, Newt, and Brave (previously known as The Bear and the Bow), and it is the 12th animated film from the studio. The film received mixed reviews from critics, and broke the studio's streak of critical success, but ranked No. 1 on its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada with $66,135,507 and topping international success of such previous Pixar works as Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Cars, and WALL-E.
British spy Finn McMissile infiltrates an oil rig owned by a group of lemon cars to rescue fellow spy Leland Turbo, who has blown his own cover. He witnesses the lemons, seemingly led by German weapons designer and scientist Professor Zündapp, load an electromagnetic pulse generator, disguised as a TV camera onto a shipping crate. After discovering Leland's death, a burst of flames reveals his presence to the criminals, and he escapes by faking his death.
Five years after the events of the first film, after winning his fourth Piston Cup, Lightning McQueen returns to Radiator Springs to spend his off season with his friends. However, Italian formula race car, Francesco Bernoulli, challenges Lightning to race in the World Grand Prix, an international three-race event created by former oil tycoon Sir Miles Axlerod, who intends to promote his new environmentally friendly fuel, Allinol, and invites race cars from the world to compete. McQueen and his best friend Mater — along with Luigi, Guido, Fillmore, and Sarge — depart for Tokyo for the first race of the World Grand Prix.
At a World Grand Prix promotional party event, Mater makes a scene after eating a bowl of wasabi and leaking on stage, embarrassing Lightning in front of everyone. While cleaning up, Mater interrupts a fight between American spy Rod "Torque" Redline (Finn's contact) and lemons Grem and Acer. Redline plants his tracking device on Mater, causing Finn and his associate Holley Shiftwell to mistake him for the spy. Meanwhile, Redline is captured and killed by Zündapp, who reveals that Allinol is set on fire when hit with the EMP from earlier. He informs his superior, an unknown mastermind, that Redline passed on his information. Holley finds and recruits Mater to stop Zündapp's plot.
At the first race, three racers are ignited by the camera, causing their engines to explode. Lightning places second in the race after Bernoulli, due to miscommunication with Mater, who was evading Zündapp's henchmen with help from Holley and Finn. Lightning angrily snaps at Mater, who then goes to the airport to return to Radiator Springs, but is abducted by Finn as the lemons close onto both, and they flee in Finn's jet, Siddeley. After traveling to Paris, to collect more information from Finn's old friend Tomber, they travel to Porto Corsa, Italy, where the second race is being held. During the race, Mater infiltrates the criminals' meeting, just as a few racers are flamed out by the camera, causing a multi-car pile-up, while Lightning wins. Due to increased fears over Allinol's safety, Axlerod lifts the requirement to use it for the final race in London. However, when Lightning decides to continue using it, the criminals plan to kill him in the race. Frightened by the realization that his best friend is in danger, Mater accidentally blows his cover, causing him, Finn, and Holley to be captured and tied up inside Big Bentley, where he admits to them that he is not the spy they think he is.
When the race starts, Lightning takes the lead before passing Big Ben. However, the camera was inexplicably defective on him. The criminals tell Mater they planted a time bomb in Lightning's pits as a backup plan, spurring him to break free and escape. Finn and Holley escape soon after but realize that the bomb was fitted on Mater's air filter when they were passed out as the criminals predicted that Mater will easily escape to help Lightning. Mater had already arrived at the pits when they tell him this, so he flees down the track while Lightning chases after him to apologize for his outburst in Tokyo. Finn apprehends Zündapp when he attempts to escape. The other lemons arrive and outnumber Finn, Holley, Mater, and Lightning, but they are soon rescued by the arrival of the other Radiator Springs residents. Mater and Lightning go to Buckingham Palace, where Mater exposes Axlerod as the mastermind behind the plot and the racers having their engines blown, proven after forcing him to disable the bomb. It is revealed that the World Grand Prix was a cover-up by Axelrod to turn the world against Allinol and other alternative fuels, and he was also the one who was leaking oil in Tokyo, blaming Mater for it. After Axlerod is arrested by the authorities, Mater receives an honorary knighthood from the Queen and Lightning and Mater reconcile.
Back in Radiator Springs, Mater tells everyone there about his story, just when Finn and Holley stop over. Fillmore then reveals that Sarge swapped the Allinol with Fillmore's organic fuel, which explains the camera's ineffectiveness on him. A "Radiator Springs Grand Prix" is held featuring all the World Grand Prix contenders. Mater declines an invitation from Finn and Holley to go on another mission, choosing to stay in Radiator Springs. Though his weapons get confiscated, he gets to keep the rockets and catches up to Lightning with speeding off with Mater behind him, just as Siddeley speeds into the distance.
- Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
- Larry the Cable Guy as Tow Mater
- Michael Caine as Finn McMissile a British spy
- Emily Mortimer as Holley Shiftwell
- Eddie Izzard as Sir Miles Axlerod
- John Turturro as Francesco Bernoulli
- Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger
- Joe Mantegna as Grem a Gremlin
- Thomas Kretschmann as Professor Zündapp
- Peter Jacobson as Acer
- Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera
- Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip
- Franco Nero as Uncle Topolino
- David Hobbs as David Hobbscap
- Patrick Walker as Mel Dorado
- Tony Shalhoub as Luigi
- Jeff Garlin as Otis
- Michel Michelis as Tomber
- Jason Isaacs as Siddeley and Leland Turbo
- Lloyd Sherr as Fillmore and Tony Trihull
- Bruce Campbell as Rod "Torque" Redline
- Teresa Gallagher as Mater's Computer
- Jenifer Lewis as Flo
- Stanley Townsend as Victor Hugo, Vladimir Trunkov and Ivan
- Velibor Topic as Alexander Hugo
- Sig Hansen as Crabby the Boat
- Guido Quaroni as Guido
- Vanessa Redgrave as Mama Topolino and The Queen of England
- John Mainier as J. Curby Gremlin
- Brad Lewis as Tubbs Pacer
- Cheech Marin as Ramone
- Jeff Gordon as Jeff Gorvette
- Lewis Hamilton as Lewis Hamilton
- Paul Dooley as Sarge
- Edie McClurg as Minny
- Richard Kind as Van
- Katherine Helmond as Lizzie
- John Ratzenberger as Mack
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff
- John Lasseter as John Lassetire
- Mark Winterbottom as Frosty (Australian release only)
- Main article: Cars 3
- Doc Hudson does not appear in this film, due to Paul Newman's death. He is implied to have died since his clinic has been converted to a memorial museum and the trophy McQueen wins at the beginning of the film was renamed after him. The Blu-ray version was also packaged with another Pixar film, Inside Out, on October 8, 2020, and again with eight other Disney films as part of the company's 90th anniversary "Best of Family Collection" on February 4, 2021.