Rust-eze Racing Center owner
Mr. Sterling (by Cruz Ramirez)
- "You think you're famous now? Ha-ha! We'll be rich, beyond belief."
"Mr. Sterling, what is this about?"
"Your legacy. Every time you lose - you damage yourself. I'm sorry. Your racing days... are coming to an end."
- —Sterling and Lightning McQueen, a Cars 3 trailer
Sterling is the secondary antagonist of Cars 3.
He is a billionaire businesscar who purchased Rust-eze, after founders Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze put the company up for sale in order to build the Rust-eze Racing Center, an elite training facility with the latest technology. It appears that he also intends to run Rust-eze out of a personal office at the Racing Center. Sterling made his fortune as the 'mudflap king' of the eastern seaboard. While Lightning McQueen didn't know of him, Tow Mater did, stating that he does "make a quality mudflap at an affordable price."
Sterling proclaims himself to be a big fan of McQueen and is very knowledgeable of his racing career, including that of the racing career of McQueen's mentor, Doc Hudson.
In Cars 3, Sterling brings up the subject of McQueen's retirement while introducing McQueen to a selection of merchandise based on him. He agrees to a deal with McQueen; if he cannot win the Florida 500, then Lightning will have to retire and use his fame to sell Lightning McQueen merchandise. At the Rust-eze Racing Center, McQueen is introduced to Cruz Ramirez, who helps him train to defeat Jackson Storm in the Florida 500. Tex Dinoco, however, offered him "a talk like a billionaire with billionare", in which Tex Dinoco got Rust-Eze under his control. It is unknown what happened to Sterling after that.
Profiles and statistics
- "Sterling is a smart and dashing businesscar who runs one of the largest racing centers in the country. Despite his wealth and influence, he comes across as unassuming and laid-back. Sterling often waves off formalities, choosing to be called "Sterling" over "Sir" or "Mister." Although he's not cutthroat or power-hungry, his decisions will always be driven by what is best for his business. Sterling has invested a lot of money in Lightning McQueen, and he wants to make sure his investment pays off."
- If viewers look closely enough, Sterling has a picture of what looks like Miles Axlerod, the main antagonist of Cars 2, in his office.
- This led some fans to believe that Sterling and Axelrod are connected in some way, although this was never confirmed to be true.