Racers looking to shine in solar challenge

The Dutch are hot favourites but other teams will be looking for their time to shine as the World Solar challenge speeds off this weekend.

The 3000-kilometre race for solar cars from Darwin to Adelaide has attracted its biggest field ever with 50 teams from 26 countries taking part.

The Nuon university team from the Netherlands will be looking to continue its dominance of the event with a seventh victory.

"If you don't think the Dutch team are the team to beat you haven't been looking at the history of this race," Michigan University team spokeswoman Sarah Zoellick said.

The Americans are back this year after finishing fourth in 2015 and are hoping a smaller narrower car will push them to victory.

"The goal when you are running off solar power is absolutely to be as efficient as possible with your energy usage," Ms Zoellick said.

"The other big things to contend with are the weather and road trains."

The cars race using only the power of the sun's rays and must be totally self-sufficient after leaving Darwin on Sunday with teams bringing their own food, supplies and camping equipment.

The trek is one of the world's most prestigious solar car races and this year marks 30 years since the first race in 1987.

The leading cars are expected in Adelaide by Thursday morning.

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