If you read the popular blog Techdirt then you know how out of hand this whole ‘publicity rights’ thing is getting. A lawsuit against Pixar stating that Lightning McQueen was based off of an existing race car (also red with the number 95) takes the whole thing to another level.
Mark Brill alleged that the fictional character Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) in the movie was too similar to his own race car. Apparently Brill is a big deal in the racing world and is closely associated with such a car.
Thankfully the judge saw how ridiculous the idea was and ruled for Disney/Pixar. And we can all breath a little easier knowing that somewhere there is at least a little common sense left in this world.
Btw, Lightning McQueen was given the number 95 since that was the opening year of Toy Story and his design is based on the look of a number of race cars.