CALGARY - University of Calgary engineering students are hoping the latest redesign of a solar race car earns them a top spot at a prestigious event in the United States next year.

They're aiming to compete in the 2010 American Solar Challenge, which pits solar race car drivers against each other in a long-distance trek from Tulsa, Okla., to Chicago.

There have been two other solar-powered race cars developed by students at the U of C.

The redesigned chassis is lighter because it's made out of a carbon fibre composite and will be half the weight of its metal predecessors.

Jeff Wickenheiser, one of the project managers, says another huge improvement is the driver's seat.

Instead of having to sit on the frame of the vehicle, the driver will actually be able to sit in a seat inside the car.