Cars: Lightning League is a racing game based on Disney's Cars animated film series. The player starts by picking a three-letter name for their license plate. They're given the option in the settings to make the difficulty level either Rookie or Pro. They can later choose between Single and Career races.
Once the player picks their settings, they simply attempt to navigate on a track around other cars and obstacles. The game provides an extra boost of power intermittently that they charge by collecting lightning bolts that hover above the track. In the Rookie mode, the game automatically provides the boost. In Pro, they must manually select the option on the bottom right corner of the screen.
The obstacles in each race, including oil slicks, barrels, concrete barriers, traffic cones, logs and tumbleweeds, seem to appear out of nowhere at high speeds and slow down the player's car. Driving too close or along the side of a track can also slow the player's vehicle.
The player can attempt to earn money during each race as well by collecting toolboxes hovering above the track that they can trade later for coins. They then use the coins to upgrade to different versions of their car, new cars and paints jobs at a garage. They can also acquire racing stickers, new engines and street kits.