To pit the United Kingdom's micromouse racers against their colleagues from North America and the Pacific rim is like putting a church mouse up against its cousins from the flour mill.
Though the British invented the sport of racing robotic rodents through a maze, and will stage the world championships in Walsall tomorrow, local contestants are given poor odds against well-funded overseas competition.
The favourite is a mouse from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It's half the size of all the other mice and twice as fast," said David Penrose of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, which is organising the contest in association with the RAC.
Micromouse racing has spread to Australia, Japan, Singapore and the United States. "They put a lot more money into it so they have much higher quality mice," Mr Penrose said.
Rather than turn the contest into a big-money sport, the IEE sees it as a way to interest school students in engineering. Teams from schools and further education colleges can enter the teenage race.
University contestants are eligible for the intermediate category. Entries have been received from De Montfort University, Loughborough University of Technology, the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, the University of East London and the University of Limerick.
MIT will vie with industrial teams in the advanced category.