Beyond the posters and (sometimes loosely) translated titles, there has always been an element of localization in films from Pixar Animation Studios. Famously, in a scene in Toy Story 2, the North American version featured the flag of the United States, while international versions featured a spinning globe.
This same approach is being taken to the streets of the World Grand Prix in Cars 2, but in a much more evolved way. Take this scene for example, which features NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon (as Jeff Gorvette) and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton:
This is more or less the scene as we’ll see it in North America. However, Jeff Gorvette will not be seen in some other countries as he will be completely replaced by local celebrity drivers. Australians, for example, will see V8 Supercar driver Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom in Jeff’s place and Spaniards will get to see F1 driver Fernando Alonso instead.
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Spain, here’s a brief behind-the-scenes clip of Alonso recording his role in the film (along with some barely visible reference footage being projected for him (but don’t be fooled by Gorvette’s appearance in the footage!)):
Another interesting use of localization for Cars 2 is actually the lack of it. Traditionally in animation, characters are dubbed in the local language by local actors — in fact, often the characters have localized names that don’t even resemble the original version. In Cars 2, however, Pixar Animation Studios has recently announced that the role of Mama Topolino, while voiced by Vanessa Redgrave in the English-speaking versions of the film, will be voiced by Sophia Loren and speak purely in Italian in many other language editions.
Back to the Spanish localization, here in another extended behind-the-scenes example from Walt Disney Studios, we see Lewis Hamilton recording his own lines, but for the Spanish version of the film:
The end result? The same scene above, only this time it’s all in Spanish and Jeff Gordon’s car is replaced completely by Fernando Alonso’s character: