Lightning McQueen is a red race car sponsored by Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment ("With Just a Little Rust-eze, you can look like Lightning McQueen!") He is #95, and is built for speed and has just two things on his mind: winning, and the perks that come with it. In his fast-paced life he has little time for anything or anyone, but who needs friends when you have a stadium full of fans?
Originally cocky and self-centered, Lightning's personality was changed into a caring and nice person with lots of friends - to which he is very loyal and kind.
Lightning's model is a hand-built race car, built for racing purposes specifically. He has modifications like a red spoiler, and for a short time did not have headlights, only stickers.
His model was originally painted red, with green Smell Swell stickers. Later, his doors were re-painted with yellow and orange lightning bolt decals. He had the number 95 painted in red, orange, and yellow on his roof and doors, as well as the Rust-eze logo on his hood and spoiler.
Lightning is a Piston Cup champion race car known all over the world for his quick and skillful style of racing.
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.
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)