Manitoba will help fund a solar-powered car being built for a 4,000-kilometre race that will roar through Canada this summer for the first time.

The province said Friday that it will chip in to help the transportation division at Red River College in Winnipeg, which is building a car for the North American Solar Challenge in July.

The race, formerly known as the American Solar Challenge, will make its first foray into Canada since it was founded 17 years ago.

The competition starts in Austin, Texas, on July 17, with racers expecting to arrive in Winnipeg around July 23.

They will travel west on the Trans-Canada Highway with stops or checkpoints in Brandon, Man., Regina and Medicine Hat, Alta., before finishing in Calgary on July 27.

Manitoba's Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux said Friday that the province would contribute $25,000 in funding to buy equipment and $10,000 in-kind support from the Fleet Vehicles Agency.

Red River College has contributed $62,000 from its own resources and hopes to fund the rest through fundraising activities, commercial contributions and other government sources.

The competition, billed as the world's largest solar car race, aims to raise awareness of solar technologies and renewable energies.

In the last race two years ago, a team from the University of Waterloo placed third, while a Queen's University solar car was the first two-seater to cross the finish line, placing seventh overall.

A Queen's team also placed in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2003, placing fourth after completing the 3,010-kilometre route across the country in 41 hours and 45 minutes.