Camarillo, California – A solar-powered car has begun the U.S. leg of its quest to circle the globe running solely on the sun. The SolarWorld Gran Turismo (GT) is a collaboration between U.S. solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld and the Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

The two-seater sports car, powered by roof-integrated solar cells, is attempting a 21,000-mile (33,796-kilometre) trip around the world to set a Guinness record for the longest distance covered by a solar car. It began its journey in Australia and New Zealand, covering more than 3,100 miles (4,988 kilometres) before shipping to the U.S. in December.

Once it finishes the U.S. leg, the car and its crew will travel through Europe, Africa and Asia before finishing in Australia in late 2012. The trek begins today in Half Moon Bay, California and will take 49 days to make its 3,774-mile (6,073-kilometre) trip to South Carolina, with five planned stops at universities and non-profit organizations.

The car’s trip can be followed on SolarWorld’s Facebook page.

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