Cars 2, due out in summer of 2011, finds its foundation when Lightning McQueen is invited to participate in the International Race of Champions, a world-wide race in which McQueen competes against all genres of racing cars.
Inspired by the press junkets Lasseter used to make around the world while promoting Cars, Lasseter said he often found himself wondering ‘What would Mater do?’ when encountering all of the different types of unique driving experiences around the world, such as driving on the other side of the road in London, the roundabout in Paris, viewing scooters in Italy as gnats, etc.
So when Lightning takes off to compete around the world, he brings Mater along as his crew chief and the rest of the characters as his pit crew. They start off in Japan where they race through downtown Tokyo, through the Black Forest of Germany (where Mater also attends Oktoberfest in his ‘materhosen’), the Porto Cosa in Italy, through the streets of Paris and finally past Buckingham Palace in London, passing along the iconic ‘Big Bentley’ along the way.
But all is not what it seems in what turns into — in the words of Lasseter — a Hitchcockian thriller when clueless Mater inadvertently saves the life of a British spy in the form of Finn McMissle, a car straight out of a James Bond movie.
Believing noone can simply be as dumb as Mater, McMissle believes it to be a clever cover and decides that Mater himself must be a super secret agent and leads Mater into a life of intrigue and suspense.
Along with the expected puns such as Big Bentley, Lasseter showed off a lot of concept art, including how each of the international locales have been stylized to marry the automotive world in Cars. Examples include a dashboard replacing the cuckcoo clock on a glockenspiel in Germany and the wheel-ized base of the Eiffel tower in Paris.