'Cars 2' racing to theaters in 2011

Disney moves up animated sequel's release

Pixar is pushing the pedal to the metal on its sequel "Cars 2."

The follow-up to John Lasseter's 2006 film "Cars" was originally set for release in summer 2012, but Lasseter, Pixar's chief creative officer said at a Disney presentation Wednesday, that the film has been moved up to a summer 2011 release.

Brad Lewis, who served as a producer on "Antz" and "Ratatouille," is directing the film, which Lasseter said takes its inspiration from cars from around the world that he saw while doing publicity tours on behalf of "Cars."

In the meantime, Pixar will keep the "Cars" engine humming with a series of animated shorts that it will dub "Cars Toons." The first in the series will focus on Mater, the truck character voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.

The "Cars Toons" will play on the Disney Channel and will also screen theatrically.