Hot Wheels Highway 35: World Race is a series released by Mattel and animated by Mainframe Entertainment, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Hot Wheels. It was broadcasted into 5 episodes, but was edited together into a made-for-DVD movie. The universe and story was created by Jeff Gomez.

It was followed up with Hot Wheels: Acceleracers in 2005.



  1. Ring of Fire
  2. Greatest Challenge
  3. Desert Heat
  4. Frozen Fire
  5. Wheel of Power

Other Media

Video Game

To coincide with the toyline and movie, The Hot Wheels World Race video game was released. Developed by Climax Brighton and published by THQ, it was released in October 29, 2003, one month and 3 days before the release of the movie.[1]


A series of 35 comics were printed and given away with Hot Wheels World Race die-cast cars. Each of the comics focused on a specific racer, often giving them backstory or difficult situation to get out of. It has the same character designs as used in the portraits, and thus look different from their movie counterparts.


Mattel ordered Starlight Runner Entertainment to produce the series in June of 2003, and had to release the first episode by November 2003. The team worked 16 hour days to complete the episode by the deadline.[2] Mainframe Entertainment animated all the episodes.

Terrell Bobbett designed the characters along with Vincent Spencer and Nelson Blake.[3]

Prototype Characters

Early characters designs were found by das_mittel in 2019, on a defunct Planet Hot Wheels promotional image. Jeff Gomez would later confirm the art to be from an early point in development for the movie, before characters were fully realized. The woman wearing a purple tracksuit was a completely scrapped character, not associated with any of the final characters.[4]


Game files

A pre-rendered intro of an early World Race logo and early designs of the characters were found in the Hot Wheels: World Race videogame.[5]

Deleted Scenes

There are multiple scenes cut from the full movie, due to numerous reasons.

Previously On segments were shown before each individual episode after Ring of Fire, being removed in the final cut because of it being unnecessary in the full-length format. English versions of these have not been found because only the first episode has been found in English, on YouTube.


Highway 35- Episode 2 - "The Shortcut" - German

An introductory-style animation of Taro Kitano posing with his ’70 Plymouth Road Runner can be seen in the Scorchers Theme music video, at 0:15. It’s most likely footage for promotional purposes.

The same kind of introductory animation of Kurt Wylde can be seen very quickly in the start of a Ring of Fire trailer.


"Scorchers Theme" - Ball Of Waxx - Hot Wheels Highway 35 World Race


World Race 2003 Video Packs commercial

Another cut scene is during Episode 4, right before the Jungle Leg race, there was a montage of all the drivers. It has been mostly resurfaced in Spanish.[6]


Episode 4 Frozen Fire unreleased footage (Spanish)


The series as a whole (World Race and all 4 Acceleracers movies) is rated a 7.1 on IMDb.[7]

TV Guide's Robert Pardi gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, stating "...the vertiginous visual effects should delight speed demons of all ages." [8]

Reviews by Ripley on Almost Fabulous Movie Reviews, "The story is very thin and is really just an excuse to show cars racing around..." going on to say, "...Only recommended for young Hot Wheels fans."[9]

John Sinnott of DVD Talk gave the movie a "Recommended" rating, criticizing the long length but recommending it to young viewers and Hot Wheels fans.[10]


Marcel Duperreault, Kirk Furniss, Jason Fredrickson and Todd Araki were awarded a Leo Award in 2004 for Best Overall Sound in an Animation Program or Series.[11]



  • Series' creator Jeff Gomez based the series on a fantasy RPG campaign he created, titled "GLOBAL RUN: 2020".[12]
  • Several helmet designs were created for the teams, but were adjusted when Mainframe Entertainment adapted the character designs. The early helmet designs can be found here


  1. Hot Wheels: World Race (video game) - Wikipedia
  2. "The most difficult part of working on Highway 35 was that we were asked to produce the series in June, and the first episode had to be on store shelves in November! We hadn't even written a script! We worked 16 hour days for weeks and weeks to get the show done on time." - What was the most difficult part of working on the film? - Jeff Gomez Acceleracers Reddit AMA Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  3. Taro Kitano by Terrell Bobbett on DeviantArt
  5. Hot Wheels World Race (Playstation 2) - The Cutting Room Floor
  7. Hot Wheels Highway 35 World Race (TV Series 2003-2006) - IMDb
  8. Hot Wheels World Race Review | TV Guide
  9. Almost Fabulous Movie Reviews: Hot Wheels: World Race (2003)
  10. Hot Wheels - World Race : DVD Talk Review
  11. Mainframe and Studio B Win Lion's Share of Leo Awards | Animation World Network
  12. "Fun Fact: The Hot Wheels World Race storyline was based on a fantasy roleplaying game (like Dungeons & Dragons) campaign I created called GLOBAL RUN: 2020..." Jeff Gomez - Creator of Hot Wheels Highway 35 Universe - Ask Me Anything
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