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.
In a world populated by anthropomorphic talking vehicles, the final race of the Piston Cup season ends in a three-way tie for first place between retiring veteran Strip "The King" Weathers, frequent runner-up Chick Hicks, and brash rookie sensation Lightning McQueen; the tiebreaker race is scheduled for one week later at the Los Angeles International Speedway. McQueen is desperate to win the race, not only to be the first rookie to win the Piston Cup, but also because it would allow him to leave the unglamorous sponsorship of Rust-Eze, a bumper ointment company, and take The King's place on the prestigious and lucrative Dinoco team. However, he struggles to work with others due to his selfishness, which has caused him to fire three crew chiefs and having his pit crew quit after the race. Eager to get to California as soon as possible, he pushes his big rig, Mack, to travel all night long. While McQueen is sleeping, Mack nods off and is startled awake, causing McQueen to fall out the back of the trailer and onto the road. McQueen wakes up in the middle of traffic and speeds off the highway in search of Mack, but instead ends up in the rundown desert town of Radiator Springs, where he inadvertently damages the pavement of the main road.
The next day, McQueen is ordered by the town judge and medical doctor, Doc Hudson, to leave town immediately, but the local lawyer, Sally, requests that McQueen should instead be assigned community service to repave the road, to which Doc reluctantly agrees. Still in a rush to leave town, McQueen repaves the road shoddily, and is ordered to start again. During this time, he begins to warm up to the town, and befriends several of its residents. He learns that Radiator Springs was once a popular stop along U.S. Route 66 until it was bypassed with the construction of Interstate 40 and mostly forgotten, and that Doc was the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a three-time Piston Cup champion whose career ended from a devastating crash in 1954. He bonds with Sally, who found happiness when she gave up a fast life in Los Angeles to live in Radiator Springs, and now dreams of putting the town back on the map. McQueen finishes repaving the road, reinvigorating the town's residents, and decides to spend an extra day in Radiator Springs with his new friends, but his time there is cut short when Mack and the media descend on the town. McQueen reluctantly leaves to reach California in time for the race while Sally expresses her disappointment with Doc upon discovering that he was responsible for tipping off the media to McQueen's whereabouts, and she and the others, sad about the departure of their new friend, go to sleep, while Doc, alone by the traffic light, regrets his actions.
At the race, as McQueen couldn't say goodbye to his friends, races distractedly and ends up with one lap behind. He is then surprised to discover that Doc, having a change of heart, has taken over as his crew chief and several of his other friends from Radiator Springs are helping in the pit. Inspired and recalling tricks he learned from Doc and his friends, McQueen manages to recover and vaults into the lead. On the final lap, Chick sideswipes and sends The King into a dangerous crash. Recalling Doc's fate, McQueen stops just short of the finish line, handing Chick the victory, and drives back to push The King over the finish line. As a result, the angered crowd and media condemn Chick's victory but praise McQueen's sportsmanship. McQueen is offered the Dinoco sponsorship, but declines and insists on staying with Rust-Eze out of loyalty for their past support. Back at Radiator Springs, McQueen reunites with Sally and announces that he will be setting up his racing headquarters there, putting Radiator Springs back on the map.
In a post-credits scene, Minny and Van, a couple who were trying to find the Interstate, are shown lost in the middle of the desert.
- 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.