"The tip will provide the fuel to move the molecule," said Alain Schuhl, Director of the CNRS's physics unit.
The race will not exactly be a high-speed chase with hairpin turns.
It will take the nano-cars at least 36 hours to reach the finish line after covering 100 nanometers — one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
There are a couple of 40 and 45 degree turns thrown in to make things interesting.
One team was stuck for five hours on a turn during a practice session, said race director Christian Joachim.
"It's like a video game — you have to focus on the screen and be attentive all the time," he said. "You need two people, one that gets the images and the other one guiding him on strategy to avoid getting stuck."
The golden surface on which the nano-cars will race is 50,000 times thinner than a line drawn by a pen. To get to the finish line, the scientists will have to apply an average of 400 to 500 electrical discharges of one to two volts each, without breaking the molecule.
As in Formula One, contestants are allowed to switch cars in case of malfunctions.