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Lightning McQueen Debuts in Detroit

Life-sized version rolls out at auto show

DETROIT, Michigan — “Cars 3” superstar Lightning McQueen shares show floor space between Volvos and Hyundais at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

Disney/Pixar’s racing red racecar is in town to promote the latest “Cars” animated flick and is sure to be a crowd pleaser with kids and most grownups when the Cobo Center’s doors officially open to the public over the weekend.

John Lasseter, Pixar’s big kahuna, screened a few minutes from the latest installment for the press over the weekend. Lasseter directed the original film and is now the executive producer of the new one.

There’s a new extended trailer out that introduces two new characters, Jackson Strom and Cruz Ramirez. A fancy new hotshot racecar Jackson Strom, voiced by Armie Hammer, challenges an older Lightning McQueen, still voiced by Owen Wilson.

Pixar claims that the 2006 custom-built Piston Cup Racer has a V-8 engine with only 750 horsepower, can hit 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, and has a top speed of 198 mph. His new challenger is a 2017 model that also has a V-8 under the hood, but it has 850 hp, can hit 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 214 mph. Jackson Strom also sports lots of carbon fiber and other go fast bits.

McQueen also gets a new love interest and unconventional racing instructor named Cruz Ramirez, voiced by Cristela Alonzo. She’s a 2017 CRS Sports Coupe with a high performance DOHC V-6, can get to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 210 mph. The new extended trailer shows an aging McQueen who survives an epic crash and reevaluates his career as a racer.

It’s a little dark, kind of like the near death scenes in “Toys 3,” but still a lot of fun and true to the spirit of Pixar’s successful animation roots. Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” franchise has made over 1-billion dollars worldwide and the new installment is sure to rake up even more cash for the studio.

The teaser ends with the tagline “it’s not over until lightning strikes,” so you probably know how it will turn out in the end. Still, it definitely looks like another wild and funny ride.

“Cars 3” opens on June 16, 2017.

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