CRAFTED by school students, mini electric vehicles were racing for first place on the oval at Tighes Hill TAFE with a cheer of excitement from spectators. The up and coming engineers spent two terms tinkering to create solar powered cars and boats while learning STEM in the classroom, and had the chance to showcase them at a Mini EV Challenge on Wednesday, November 22. St Philip's Christian College year 5 students William Krause and Ryan Kurtz were excited to see their vehicle 'Ratatouille' win its race. "It performed pretty well, we were nervous but it was very exciting and fun," he said. William said they spent weeks in their STEM lab ensuring the wires were connected right. "Our car is basically plastic, cardboard with a solar panel on top, batteries and a two-way switch. It took us a few weeks to build and I'd been using my lunch breaks to get it right," he said. Hamilton Public School year 3 students Frankie Martin said she enjoyed the experience of decorating her car and seeing it race others. "It's been super fun," Frankie said. Event organiser Ashlee Flewitt said between 300 and 400 students from across primary and secondary schools gathered at the TAFE with 79 teams participating in the race, as part of the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival. "It's been a really good day and it's all about offering a fun and exciting way to see science, technology, engineering and maths come together," she said. "The goal of the challenge is to stimulate careers, innovation, teamwork, skills development and entrepreneurialism in solar vehicle design and construction." She also thanked event sponsors for making the event a reality and providing prizes for the children.