Pixar Debuts New 'Cars' Toon on Disney Movies Anywhere

The Baja 1000-inspired "Radiator Springs 500 1/2" features the characters Lightning McQueen and Mater.
Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar's "Radiator Springs 500 ½"

Disney and Pixar have released their latest short, a new installment of the Tales from Radiator Springs series based on the Cars franchise, which is now available on digital movie service Disney Movies Anywhere.

In the six-minute Radiator Springs 500 1/2, a "leisurely drive" planned in honor of Radiator Springs' town founder, Stanley, turns precarious as Baja pros descend on the town and challenge Lightning McQueen to an off-road race. Meanwhile, the townsfolk, lead by Mater, enjoy the planned drive to retrace Stanley's original frontier route.

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For this latest short, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter "wanted to explore different racing styles, and the Baja 1000 came to mind," director Rob Gibbs (Mater's Tall Tales) told The Hollywood Reporter, noting that the filmmakers were influenced by Italian Westerns and documentaries about off-road racing, notably Dust to Glory.

"John's very adamant about [the animation of] Cars," he added, noting that Lasseter would remind the artists that the characters are metal and therefore can't bend. "The animators needed to restrict themselves and not over animate, but still give the characters a lot of life and movement."

The returning voice cast includes Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen, Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, Bonnie Hunt as Sally and Cheech Marin as Ramone.

Scott Morse (writer, Mater's Tall Tales) co-directed the short, and Mary Alice Drumm (Brave) produced.

Gibbs and Morse are working on another short in the series, scheduled for a 2015 release.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com