|“||I need your help, Mr McQueen!||”|
Cruz Ramirez is the deuteragonist of Cars 3. Cruz is a young Hispanic female sports car who instructs Lightning McQueen and a member of the more recent generation of cars, Cruz still believes McQueen has potential, and works at the Rust-eze Racing Center to coach McQueen. She is described as "optimistic, sunny, fierce, and friendly," and uses a voice command assistant called Hamilton.
"Cruz Ramirez is a sunny-but-fierce unconventional trainer at the Rust-eze Racing Center. She expertly arms the team’s talented rookies with cutting-edge tools to tear up the track—but she nearly stalls when her longtime idol Lightning McQueen shows up. While she’d love to help him find his way back to the top, she knows the competition is faster than ever, and victory is all about speed—or is it?"
Cruz is a kind, optimistic trainer for the Rust-eze Racing Center, first seen coaching a few cars on the treadmills. She is introduced by Sterling to Lightning McQueen, who enlists her help in defeating Jackson Storm after his big crash. She tells McQueen that she's a big fan of him, and grew up watching him on television (even referring to him as "[her] senior project"). She starts McQueen out with some simple exercises, though McQueen gets increasingly impatient by this and quickly goes on the racing simulator against Cruz's advice, though he ends up losing control of himself and crashes into the screen. After McQueen convinces Sterling to give him another chance to race, Cruz is sent by Sterling to join McQueen on Fireball Beach to train.
Cruz plans to use her digital assistant Hamilton to track McQueen's speed, but McQueen must stay close to Cruz for this to work. McQueen and Cruz spend the entire day on Fireball Beach, with the former ending up training the latter how to race on sand after Cruz fails to do this several times. They then successfully race to the end of the beach, with McQueen's top speed gauged at 198 mph, which is slower than Storm. McQueen decides to do further training at Thunder Hollow, with Cruz joining him.
When they arrive, both McQueen and Cruz go by the fictional identities of Chester Whipplefilter and Frances Beltline, respectively. McQueen is covered in mud to avoid paparazzi. However, the two soon realize that they are at a demolition derby, and it is too late for them to leave. They must race against the other participants in the derby, including champion Miss Fritter. Cruz is saved from death twice by McQueen, and is later declared the winner. However, she accidentally trips a water truck over, which splashes water on McQueen and exposes McQueen's true identity to the crowd and the world, as the events are reported on the news.
While they leave Thunder Hollow, Cruz tries to cheer up McQueen, who just stares angrily at her. When he finally does talk, he yells at her, saying that instead of training to be faster than Storm, he's too busy taking care of Cruz. Hurt by McQueen's words, she orders Mack to pull over, and asks McQueen to ask her if she wanted to be a trainer her whole life. She tells him that her whole life, she wanted to be a racer just like him. However, her family didn't believe she should pursue this, and when she had the chance to do her first race, she got overwhelmed by fear of the other cars and left. Cruz then drives off on her own.
Later, Mack and McQueen catch up to her, with McQueen apologizing for yelling at her and convincing her to join him on a trip to Doc Hudson's home town of Thomasville. When they arrive, they do a lap on the dirt track where Doc used to race before meeting Smokey, Doc's old crew chief. He takes them to a bar, where they also meet fellow racers River Scott, Junior Johnson, and Louise Nash. They exchange stories about Doc's glory days, as Cruz learns more about Lightning's former crew chief.
Before McQueen starts training again, Cruz has tape put on her to resemble Storm, and starts way ahead of McQueen since he missed the qualifiers in Florida, and would have to start in last place. They race for three laps, though McQueen ends up losing to Cruz. Smokey teaches them other techniques, including maneuvering through a tractor stampede, and racing through a forest at night without their headlights on. McQueen and Cruz start getting the hang of both exercises.
McQueen, Cruz, Smokey, River, Junior, and Louise all watch footage from one of Doc's old races. They see that he uses a technique called drafting, in which he uses the barricade to flip over a rookie, who tries slamming him into the wall, to win the race. McQueen and Cruz do one last race before going to Florida, with McQueen able to go faster this time. However, he still loses to Cruz, and the two head off to Florida.
McQueen is joined by Cruz, Smokey (as his crew chief), and his pit crew as he starts the race. He moves up the ranks as the race progresses. Meanwhile, Sterling orders Cruz to leave the stadium because she's a trainer, which McQueen hears. He then quickly asks to get her back into the pits. Cruz gets a call from Lightning as she leaves, calling her to get back into the pits. Once she does, McQueen tells her that she's getting her first chance to race, remembering her story about wanting to be a racer. Sterling tries to intervene, but is towed back and distracted by Mater. With racing tires, a spoiler, and the #95 painted on her by Ramone, Cruz goes onto the track to finish the race.
At first Cruz become unsure about herself, but McQueen, now as her crew chief, reminds her about their experiences and training at Fireball Beach, Thunder Hollow, and Thomasville. With them in mind, Cruz's confidence rises and races past the others one by one. She gets into the top ten, and soon gains the attention of Storm. Storm then slows down to Cruz and tries to talk her down to minimize her confidence. Lightning tells Cruz that Storm wouldn't resort to such tactics if he didn't see her as a threat, and Cruz's confidence grows again.
In the last lap, Cruz is right behind Storm, and taunts her rival to anger him and cause him to lose his focus. Storm, getting desperate, rams Cruz into the wall and tries talking her down again. After being told she doesn't belong on the track, Cruz replies that she does, and then flips over Storm like Doc did, thereby winning the race and gaining huge cheers from the crowd.
McQueen and everyone else congratulates her on the win. Sterling tries to convince Cruz to race for him, which she quickly declines. Tex then offers her to be the next racer for Dinoco, which she accepts. McQueen and Cruz are both declared the winners of the race.
Back in Radiator Springs, Cruz now sports the Dinoco logo and the #51, a number which she says Lightning suggested. Meanwhile, Lightning shows off a brand new dark blue look as "The Fabulous Lightning McQueen", with both him and Cruz carrying on the legacy of Doc Hudson. McQueen, now Cruz's mentor, tells her that Tex purchased Rust-eze from Sterling, and that they now race for him. After a friendly banter between the two, McQueen and Cruz have a practice race around Willy's Butte.
- Vehicle type: 2017 CRS Sports Coupe
- Top Speed: 211 mph
- 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
- Engine Type: High Performance DOHC V-6
- Chassis: Aerodynamic Venturi Channeled
- Body: Lightweight alloy
- Cruz' license plate is licensed in Texgas and reads "C01 06A". It includes her voice actor Cristela Alonzo's initials, "CA", and birthday, January 6.
- Cruz has 656 rigging controls (points within the character design used by animators), including 360 for her body and 296 for her face.