Lucky number 13 for Formula SAE team

Representing both NUS and Singapore, the R-19 race car ranked 13th out of 120 teams at the 2019 Formula SAE Michigan competition in the US

NUS Engineering’s R-19 race car clinched 13th place at the 2019 Formula SAE (FSAE) Michigan competition in the US, capping off four gruelling days of competition with 119 other varsity teams from around the world. The R-19 also raced into 4th place for Engineering Design, 7th place at the Acceleration event and 8th place for the Skidpad event.

These results were the culmination of 18 months of hard work for the 14 undergraduate team members and their mentors led by NUS Engineering Professor Seah Kar Heng. Unveiled in March, this year’s race car features significant improvements to previous iterations, such as an electronic throttle system that makes the vehicle more adaptable to the driver, better vehicle handling and a more aggressive diffuser that allows the driver to turn corners at a greater speed.


The R-19 race car in action at the Michigan International Speedway

Despite these upgrades, the NUS FSAE team still faced numerous obstacles in the lead up to and during the competition, from a cracked wheel rim that necessitated changing all of their race car’s wheels, to running final checks on the car in heavy rain and biting cold following a last-minute sprocket replacement.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was the drastic change in environment between Singapore and the US. The ambient and track temperatures are very different and greatly changed the way the car behaves on the racetrack. All the parameters such as engine and suspension tuning that was done in Singapore had to be re-tuned to suit the conditions in Michigan,” said Year 3 NUS Mechanical Engineering student Chua Wen Hao.

The team worked to remain positive in the face of the challenges. "All these experiences will help guide us to next season and we will be back at it in a year to strive for an even better result," declared Year 3 NUS Mechanical Engineering student Pang Chu Kien.

Teams from NUS Engineering have taken part in the FSAE competition for 16 years.


The R-19 undergoing final checks before a race