The first-ever Australian team to compete in an international solar car contest in the United States is in pole position to win the 2800-kilometre event.
The 10-person crew from Western Sydney University won the first stage of the American Solar Challenge with their car - called Unlimited 2.0 - and is now gearing up for the final three days.
The global competition is for college or university level students who design, build and drive solar-powered cars which compete in a race across North America.
The race started on July 14, but project lead Saami Bashar said the team of students had been planning and developing the car since mid-2016.
"It's an extraordinarily challenging process," Mr Bashar told AAP from the US on Friday.
The first stage of the race covered a distance of 773km, with the Australian team defeating their closest competitor - the University of Michigan - by less than three minutes.
"It's literally coming down to seconds with the University of Michigan. We've been passing the lead back and forth," Mr Bashar said.
"We're confident in our car and we've done everything we can to make it perform as best as possible."
The entrants travel about 85 to 90kms per hour along the course, escorted by two cars for protection.
Data from the solar-powered vehicles is streamed to the rest of the team so they can monitor performance.
While the Australians are in it to win, Mr Bashar hopes the experience will help develop technology to generate more efficient cars.
The team, made up of engineering, industrial design and visual communications students, is competing against more than a dozen others left in the race.
Australian Associated Press