Cars Race-O-Rama is a racing adventure game in which the player controls Cars protagonist and Piston Cup racer Lightning McQueen. The game features five nonlinear open worlds, including Radiator Springs. In each area McQueen can participate in multiple race types, including circuit races, relay, and point-to-point. Some events allow the player to control other characters, such as the forklift Guido in events known as Guido Kart. During these events the player participates in combat racing similar to that found in the Mario Kart series.
Throughout the single-player campaign players will have the opportunity to visually upgrade McQueen. In his starting configuration the player can change McQueen's front bumper, hood, side skirts and spoiler. Additionally his wheels and paint livery can be changed via unlocks from the gameplay world collectables.