- Some believe Mater racing around an airport landing strip is one.
- A restaurant in Paris called GasTow's.
- Raoul Çaroule, the French contestant, is SO Sebastien Loeb!
- Holly reverses the polarity to turn back time, though it's only Big Ben(tley)'s gears.
- Finn McMissile pulls off two familiar-looking tricks in the opening - clinging to the side of a ship to avoid being noticed, and dumping some spare parts to feign his own death.
- While he and Lightning banter over who deserves a major award, Francesco emphasizes that he is not fra-gee-lay.
- An automotive version of Takeshi's Castle appears on a television set when the cast arrives in Japan.
- Visually, the Death Trap inside of Big Bently, and the way that Finn, Holly, and Mater escape from it, is very similar to the climax of The Great Mouse Detective - itself inspired by the clock tower chase in The Castle of Cagliostro, a movie often cited for its great spy action and excellent car chase sequence.
- Two flight attendants at Tokyo Airport are named Mei and Satsuki.
- Near the beginning, the marquee in front of the drive-in theater is advertising The Incredimobiles.
- Finn McMissile's cover identity is "in the import-export business", which was also a cover frequently used by James Bond.
- Uncle Topolino's name. Besides being the name of the car he is based on (Fiat Topolino), "Topolino" is also the official name of Mickey Mouse in Italy.
Shout Out / Cars 2