The Loop (TV)
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- Like every Pixar movie, it contains references to other Pixar films (both short and feature-length).
- The name McQueen itself is a reference to Glenn McQueen, a senior animator on early Pixar films who died of cancer in 2002; Lightning is named as a tribute. The Pixar staff takes pains to point out that it wasn't, as is commonly thought, a reference to Steve McQueen, he of the famous car chases.
- Lightning himself uses Lightyear Buzzard brand tires, and the Lightyear blimp can be seen at races. This one is a twofer: a hark back to Buzz Lightyear and an Incredibly Lame Pun on Goodyear Eagle tires. Additionally, the Dinoco brand is the name of the gas station Woody and Buzz get stuck at. And Lightning's number, #95, is a reference to the year Toy Story was released.
- Can't forget the Drive-In scene. I sure wonder how Toy Car Story, Monster Trucks, Inc. and A Bug's Life were received by car critics.
- One of the Piston Cup racers, Mac iCar, is sponsored by Apple Macintosh. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was also one of the founders of Pixar. May also count as Product Placement.
- Near the end of the film, Luigi can be seen making fun of a clearly Italian-based car that is shorter and fatter than him. Whose grill apparently resembles a mustache.
- Some believe Mater racing around an airport landing strip is one.
- A restaurant in Paris called GasTow's.
- Raoul Çaroule, the French contestant, is SO Sebastien Loeb!
- Holly reverses the polarity to turn back time, though it's only Big Ben(tley)'s gears
- Finn McMissile pulls off two familiar-looking tricks in the opening - clinging to the side of a ship to avoid being noticed, and dumping some spare parts to feign his own death.
- While he and Lightning banter over who deserves a major award, Francesco emphasizes that he is not fra-gee-lay.
- An automotive version of Takeshi's Castle appears on a television set when the cast arrives in Japan.
- Visually, the Death Trap inside of Big Bently, and the way that Finn, Holly, and Mater escape from it, is very similar to the climax of The Great Mouse Detective - itself inspired by the clock tower chase in The Castleof Cagliostro, a movie often cited for its great spy action and excellent car chase sequence.
- Two flight attendants at Tokyo Airport are named Mei and Satsuki.
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