Lightning is a red racecar sponsored by Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment ("With Just a Little Rust-eze, you can look like Lightning McQueen!"). He is #95 in the movie, and at the beginning of the movie, he is racing his first Piston Cup race The Dinoco 400, and is winning.
At the end of the film, he lost the race out of good intentions, and got a new paint job, but still sponsored by Rust-eze, although at the beginning of the film, he wanted a Dinoco sponsorship.
Number 95 Lightning McQueen is still a hotshot racecar, but his rookie days are past him. Now a permanent resident of Radiator Springs, Lightning has become a bona fide worldwide celebrity as winner of four Piston Cups. After his latest win, Lightning returns home to enjoy life in the slow lane for a while with sweetheart Sally, best friend Mater and the rest of his Radiator Springs family. His off-season is unexpectedly cut short when Mater inadvertently prompts Lightning to enter the World Grand Prix, a high profile, three-part exhibition race that will take him around the globe. With a fresh custom paint job and real, working headlights, Lightning sets off to Japan, Italy and England with Mater in tow for the adventure of a lifetime. But competing against the fastest cars in the world tests more than his racing skills when Lightning realizes his wide-eyed best friend may not be the pit chief nor ambassador he needs to navigate the unfamiliar international terrain.
- Make model: Handmade
- Top speed: 200 mph
- Zero to 60: 3.2 seconds
- Engine: V-8
- Horsepower: 750
- Hometown: Radiotor Springs, Caburator Canyon
- His racing number, "95" is a reference to the year 1995, when Pixar's first feature-length film,Toy Story was released. Originally, his number was going to be 57, which is the year John Lasseter was born.
- Lightning's last name "McQueen" is a reference to Glenn McQueen, a supervising animator at Pixar who passed away in 2002.
- In the first official teaser trailer of Cars 2, for unknown reasons, Lightning McQueen has on his Rust-eze customization.
- In Toy Story 3 in the Caterpillar Room at Sunnyside Daycare, you can see one of the kids with a white T-shirt with red sleeves and has in the middle of the shirt the 95 racing number with the lightning bolt of Lightning McQueen. A toy similar to Lightning can also be seen.
- Lightning's back bumper is yellow. This follows NASCAR's tradition of putting yellow rookie stripes on rookie drivers' cars.
- Lightning's design was inspired by stock cars, and a more curvaceous Le Mans endurance racers (Ford GT40)
- After Lightning's redesign in Cars 2, he has working headlights instead of stickers.
- In Tokyo an advertisement for a vaccum cleaner named "Lightning McClean" is seen in Cars 2.
- in a star wars version of cars McQueen appears as a luke skywalker die - cast