'Cars 3' Concept Art & Details Reveal A Sleek New Character To Help Lightning McQueen

In case you've forgotten, Disney and Pixar Animation still have Cars 3 on the way to theaters. With Finding Dory coming to theaters in June, I wouldn't be surprised if some kind of short teaser trailer debuted with that Pixar sequel in order to get families excited about the return of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his trusty tow truck sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy).

But when Cars 3 arrives next summer, Mater won't be the only friend that Lightning McQueen has on the road. Some new concept art and details about the animated sequel introduce us to a new character, one who will help Lightning McQueen adapt to the fast-changing world of racing that seems to be leaving him behind as newer, more high-tech cars start leaving him in the dust.

See the Cars 3 concept art and learn more about the new character after the jump.

Here's a couple of Cars 3 concept images from USA Today:

The car on the right in both images is Lightning McQueen, but who is that other car with him? The newspaper reveals the yellow car is named Cruz Ramirez, a young Hispanic female race car who is tasked with training McQueen in order to help him stay competitive in the racing world. Could this be the Rocky Balboa of the Cars franchise?

Here's what director Brain Fee had to say about the new character and Lightning McQueen's place in the world:

Cruz Ramirez is trying to figure out how this old dog can learn some new tricks. Think of where he'd be in his career now in real time. (McQueen) is not an old man, but he's one of the older cars on the circuit with new rookies coming in. People start to wonder and ask when he might retire.

Fee also mentioned a new character, one who isn't seen in the new concept art, but someone who will keep McQueen on his toes on the racetrack. His name is Jackson Storm, and he's the hotshot young racer who beats Lightning McQueen in a race:

Jackson Storm is the face of these rookies who have come onto the scene. And McQueen is in a position where his entire racing generation is being pushed out. But it's too early to be shown the door right now.

This sounds like a much better sequel than Cars 2, if only because it focuses more on the development of Lighting McQueen as an aging character instead of just getting caught up in spy action. But Cars is still my least favorite Pixar property, so I'm not exactly excited for the sequel.

As of now, there's no word on who will be voicing Cruz Ramirez or Jackson Storm, but Pixar will likely announced that sometime soon. Otherwise, returning cast members also include Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera and Cheech Marin as Ramone. Stay tuned for more details on Cars 3 as we get closer to the June 16, 2017 release date.