John Lasseter and Team Talk ‘Cars 3’ at the Detroit Auto Show

Pixar Animation Studios sent the big guns to the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, MI this week. Chief creative officer John Lasseter, Cars creative director Jay Ward, and production designer Jay Shuster were all there in the Motor City to give the press a peek into Pixar’s upcoming animated sequel Cars 3.

John Lasseter opened the presentation  by telling the automotive press how the  NAIAS was one of his team’s first stops in 2001 when Pixar started researching the original Cars film and how much the experience meant to him.

Next up were Jay Ward, creative director and franchise guardian for the Cars franchise, and Jay Shuster, production designer. 

The “Jays” talked more about the plot–Lightning McQueen is no longer the young hot shot on the Piston Cup circuit like he was in the first Cars film; he’s now the old guy and high-tech (and cocky) racer Jackson Storm isn’t going to let him forget it.

Jay and Jay showed off some cool concept art for Jackson Storm. (My camera didn’t love the big screen that was showing the art, so sorry for the picture quality).

They then showed the cool Jackson Storm character clip that was released last week. Here it is in case you missed it.

Jay and Jay then gave the same treatment to the new to Cars 3 character Cruz Ramirez. Cruz is a lifelong racing fan and is a trainer assigned to Lightning McQueen to help him get back on his feet/tires. 

They showed the character videos for Cruz Ramirez and the Cars 3 version of Lightning McQueen as well.

John Lasseter then returned to the stage and introduced an exclusive video clip from Cars 3. (John requested that there be no photography of the clip and I honored that.) The clip showed a racing scene from the movie where Jackson Storm is giving Lighning McQueen a hard time. The clip was reminiscent of the opening racing scene in the original Cars, but with even brighter, crisper colors and greater, more incredible details. The clip ended just as McQueen hits the wall and starts into the spectacular and horrifying crash shown in the teaser trailer. 

The trio were then joined on stage by a lifesize version of Lightning McQueen (just like the one that drives around Cars Land at the Disneyland Resort but in his Cars 3 trim). 

Lightning McQueen will be at the Pixar Cars 3 display on the NAIAS show floor for the entirety of its run (January 9-22, 2017; for more info visit 

Here are some pics from the show floor today.

The presentation and car show were so much fun for this car and Cars fan! NAIAS posted the entire presentation online, so definitely check that out, too.

Cars 3 opens in U.S. theaters on June 16th. Follow Cars 3 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the official Cars website.

(All photos by Stanford Clark)

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