The International Submarine Race (ISR) competition involves design-and-make challenges and a presentation to an industry judging panel providing an excellent demonstration of essential skills and competencies in the students. Student feedback suggests that it is a learning experience which is simultaneously the most demanding worthwhile and enjoyable feature of their entire programme of studies. Observation and gathered data reported in the paper demonstrates that participating students frequently out-perform their peers who undertake more theoretical or classroom-based equivalent assessments across a range of metrics. This session will discuss the improvements in learning experience for students when collaborative interdisciplinary teaching containing both supportive and competitive elements is delivered. Advice on benefits and drawbacks of such a learning experience with the limitations of absolute financial and time constraints will be presented in order to address the difficulties and successes associated with providing an authentic contextual-based problem solving learning experience for engineering students.