Watkins Glen, N.Y. (WENY) - The "Green Grand Prix" at Watkins Glen International is bringing high school and college students from across the Twin Tiers and they all have a similar passion. That passion is cars, and now students are bringing their knowledge to the table.
On Friday, students were given the opportunity to work together to build environmental, efficient cars for the 14th annual Green Grand Prix. The event offered a discussion panel for students from state, industry and university experts about autonomous vehicles and self-driving vehicles.
"This discussion that we had today was world class and these kids who usually do not get any field trips, you know budgets are tight. We want to provide all the opportunities for these auto-tech students to see what the future looks like and the plans for careers," said Robert Gillespie, the Executive Director of Green Grand Prix Cooperation.
The top three experts at the event included, the Deputy Secretary of Transportation for New York State, a researcher from Buffalo, and a representative from Toyota that discussed self-driving cars and buses.
For two students who have been coming to this event, year after year, say it not only motivates them but, encourages them to expand their knowledge and skills.
"I just love cars, I love working on them, I enjoy it. I love working on hands-on type of stuff," said Gabe Kekis, a student at Voorheesville High School.
Another student from SUNY Broome Community College, Mike Digiacomo added, "So far today, the most exciting part was definitely getting on track and getting to compete in the endurance event. We've put a lot of hard work into this project so it was really nice to see the van perform as good and better than expected. Today, we ended up averaging hundred fifty-seven e miles per gallon. So we're really proud of that."
The event also marks opening weekend at Watkins Glen International, which will go through the weekend. Fans will be able to drive their own cars on the track.