Solar-powered cars are speeding the length of Australia. The outback's blue skies and unrelenting sun make this the perfect environment for the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. This year's race is the closest ever contested, with just 11 seconds currently separating the three top teams. At the end of day three, Team Twente from the Netherlands is in first place in their car Red One, followed by their compatriots and 2013 champions, Nuon Solar Team, in Nuna 8, and then the University of Michigan in Aurum.

World Solar Challenge 2015
Members of Solar Team Twente catch the last of the sun's rays outside Coober Pedy to charge Red One at the end of day threeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Tokai Challenger races between Kulgera and Coober Pedy during day three of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange

"The race hasn't been decided yet. As we saw on the map, the top teams are really close together and it's going to be really exciting. Anybody could win. We have two and a half days more to go, two to three days, so yeah, we are going for it," said Nuon Solar Team member, Maarten Frijling. Team Nuon had a scary moment before the start of the race, when they thought their car's delicate solar panels had been damaged by a member of the media. "There was a slight exciting moment because somebody bumped their tripod into our car so we were very afraid that the solar panel was damaged but luckily nothing happened," said team member Bianca Koppen.

The World Solar Challenge is the world's largest solar electric vehicle race. The biannual event first began in 1987 and is based on the notion that a 1,000-watt car would complete the trip from Darwin to Adelaide in 50 hours. Solar cars are permitted a nominal five kilowatt hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. The remaining energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle. Forty-seven teams departed Darwin on Sunday 18 October in a gruelling 3,000km (1,864-mile) race from Darwin to the South Australian capital of Adelaide.

World Solar Challenge 2015
A member of the Tokai University team is reflected in one of their car's solar panels at the end of racing on day three outside Coober PedyMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Punch One of Punch Powertrain Solar Team Belgium passes through Alice Springs as it races in the Challenger ClassMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Flies buzz around the covered head of a member of the Stanford Solar Car Project team before dawn on day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Members of Team Tokai University Japan catch the last rays of sunlight to charge Tokai Challenger outside Alice Springs at the end of day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Magalux of GAMF Hungary races in the Challenger Class during day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Red One of Solar Team Twente passes through Karlu Karlu (The Devils Marbles) near Tennant CreekMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
The Stanford Solar Car Project vehicle, Arctan, crosses the Ghan overpass near Wycliffe Well during day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Tokai Challenger of Tokai University Japan passes through Karlu Karlu (The Devils Marbles) near Tennant Creek during day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Arctan, the Stanford Solar Car Project vehicle, pulls into the first control point outside Katherine during day oneMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Aurum2, of the University of Michigan Solar Car Team, crosses a cattle grid on day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Members of Solar Team Twente prepare their car Red One at the start of day two of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Red One of Solar Team Twente crosses the Katherine river during day one of the 2015 World Solar ChallengeMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
A member of the Stanford Solar Car Project team sprays the solar panels on Arctan after racing in the Challenger Class during day one of the 2015 World Solar Challenge in DunmarraMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Tokai Challenger of Tokai University Japan races in the Challenger Class during day one of the 2015 World Solar Challenge in DunmarraMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Members of the Nuon Solar Team check their car Nuna8 at the first control point, outside the town of KatherineMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
The driver sits in the Principia Solar Car Team's vehicle, at the start of the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at State Square in DarwinBrendon Thorne/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange

Three classes of vehicle, Challenger, Cruiser and Adventure, are taking on the Australian outback. The elite Challenger Class is conducted in a single stage from Darwin to Adelaide, with the Adventure Class enjoying a compulsory stop in Alice Springs. This year sees the second running of the Cruiser Class, which focuses on the ability to carry passengers and practical design, according to organisers. Team Eidenhoven are current world champions and favourites for the Cruiser Class with their vehicle, Stella Lux. "We look above and it's amazing, so you have the blue sky and the sun is shining and that's all we want, that's all we need," said team member Dom Selden.

World Solar Challenge 2015
Stella Lux of Solar Team Eindhoven races in the Cruiser Class between Katherine and Dunmarra during day oneMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
eVe, UNSW Solar Racing Team's Cruiser Class car, starts the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at State Square in DarwinMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange
World Solar Challenge 2015
Solis Bellator, the car of the Liberty Solar Car Team, is seen before taking part in the Adventure class track testing at the Hidden Valley Motor Sport Complex in DarwinMark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange