South Shields School drives into car design competition final

Students were in the driving seat as they steered their way through to a national competition which saw them build and race their own electric car.

The South Shields School kit car on the starting line.
The South Shields School kit car on the starting line.

South Shields School took part in the Greenpower Challenge for the first time, with a group from its year 8 signing up to design, create and then race their vehicle against others.

The competition is aimed at 11 to 14-year-olds and uses motorsport to inspire them to excel in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.

Pupils from South Shields School with their trophy.

In addition to making the vehicle, the teams qualified for the final by taking part in a race where they had to change driver four times during an 90 minute period, with he winner travelling the furthest distance in that time on just one battery.

The 15-strong group came ninth out of 25 teams, winning them a place in the final - and the Best Newcomer Award.

They covered 24.86miles.

Backed by engineering giant Siemens and its Curiosity Project, schools got the chance to apply for a bursary, giving teams which would have struggled to afford to join in the opportunity to enter.

Students from South Shields School with their kit car.

South Shields School was given a 50% discount on the car kit, with a £500 equipment grant for tools, helmets, materials and transport, with a further £500 grant for travel and accommodation for the final, which will take place at Rockingham Race Circuit next week.

Dave Rae, the school’s head of technology, said: “We were extremely impressed by the level of commitment and professionalism from our students who took on engineering roles using new, cutting-edge technology to build the electronics, breaks and mechanisms of the car.

“The pupils absolutely loved the racing aspect of the project, with each pupil receiving the chance to try out the car and experience the excitement of a Formula 1 style race.

“We’re thrilled to receive the Best Newcomer award for achieving the greatest number of laps as a new team.

“Through the Greenpower Challenge, pupils have been introduced to careers in STEM and this has unlocked their potential to further explore opportunities in engineering and motorsport.

“The challenge has been an invaluable experience and whilst STEM subjects can be taught in the classroom, this has provided a new level of hands-on, unforgettable learning for the pupils.”