Outside Los Angeles, a semi-truck loaded with electronics is approached by three heavily modified Honda Civics. The occupants of the Civics immobilize the truck driver, hijack the truck and escape.
The next day, undercover L.A.P.D. officer, Brian O'Conner, is assigned to find the gang responsible for those crimes. Brian uses his cover job at an aftermarket parts shop to infiltrate the local street racing scene. While visiting Toretto's Market, he flirts with the shop's patron, Mia Toretto, the sister of a street racer, Dominic Toretto. Dominic's team consists of Jesse, Leon, Vincent, and his girlfriend, Letty. Vince gets in a fight with Brian over Mia, but Dominic breaks it up.
Brian enters a race with his Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX against Dominic with his Mazda RX-7 and wagers pink slips for his car. During the race, Brian gains an advantage by using a nitrous boost, but loses it when Dominic uses his nitrous to catch up to Brian. Brian races too hard and blows his engine, handing the victory to Dominic. Afterwards, Dominic mocks Brian.
The L.A.P.D. arrives, forcing everyone to flee. Dominic is spotted by a cruiser, but Brian saves him from being arrested, gaining his respect. They venture into the territory of Dominic's old racing rival, Johnny Tran and his cousin, Lance Nguyen, who later blow up Brian's car. Afterwards, Dominic informs Brian that he owes him a "ten second car" (a car that can, from a standstill, drive a quarter mile in under 10 seconds).
Brian brings a totaled Toyota Supra to Dominic's safehouse, where he offers his skills as a driver and a mechanic. As the crew settles to repair the car, Brian starts dating Mia. Brian investigates Hector and Tran, convinced that Tran is responsible for the truck hijackings. After investigating a suspicious purchase from Hector at the parts shop, Brian discovers electronics, similar to the ones stolen, at Tran's property. Brian informs his handlers, and the F.B.I. organizes a raid on Tran. However, the electronics on Tran's property were legally bought; it now seems that Dominic and his friends are the true culprit.
Dominic invites Brian to a street racing event, Race Wars and says that they'll talk once Brian has proven his worth there. At the race, Jesse loses his father's Volkswagen Jetta to Tran, fleeing after the loss. Tran confronts Dominic, demanding that he must retrieve the car for him. It is then revealed that Dominic and his friends are responsible behind the truck hijackings. To absolve Jesse's debt, Dominic and his friends decided to commit another hijacking the next day.
When Mia divulges the crew's plan to Brian, they rush over to stop them as Brian is aware that the trucks will be heavily defended. Vince is injured by the truck driver's shotgun, but the team retrieves him. Brian blows his cover when he telephones for an ambulance as a police officer.
Brian heads over to Dominic's house to arrest him, but Jesse arrives and pleads for Dominic's help to protect him from Tran. Moments later, Jesse is killed in a drive-by shooting by Lance and Tran, prompting Dominic and Brian to pursue them, which results in Dominic injuring Lance and Brian killing Tran. Brian and Dominic then engage in an impromptu street race, narrowly avoiding a train. Dominic is then injured after his car clips a truck. Instead of arresting him, Brian gives him the keys to his own car, making good on his earlier wager to deliver a ten second car and Dominic is able to escape the police.
In the post-credits scene, Dominic is seen driving through Baja, Mexico.
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
- Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
- Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
- Paul Walker as Brian O'Connor
- Matt Schulze as Vince
- Rick Yune as Johnny Tran
- Chad Lindberg as Jesse
- Johnny Strong as Leon
- Reggie Lee as Lance Nguyen
- Ja Rule as Edwin
- Ted Levine as Sergeant Tanner
- Thom Barry as Special Agent Bilkins
- Noel Gugliemi as Hector
- Stanton Rutledge as Muse
- Beau Holden as Ted Gassner