Events

First team interview with Hong Kong's HKU Racing

Formula Student Team

The 2019 competition was delighted to welcome the first entry from Hong Kong University this year. Despite being their first outing, the team took the Class 2 competition by storm by coming runners up in Design and third place overall in Class 2 - not bad at all!

We took the opportunity to catch up with Class 2 team leader Luv Kanna and Team Captain and Founder Jasper Yeung to hear how they got on and what they are planning for their 2020 campaign!

Tell us more about HKU Racing

Jasper: HKU Racing is the University of Hong Kong’s very first motorsports team. Founded in late July of 2018. The team has a pretty humble start, founded with just me and my friend, we worked hard to gain support from the university, and by the end of the first semester we have grown more than tenfold to a little more than 40 members.

To better utilize the manpower we have, we spread our work into 7 technical subdivisions, which are chassis, suspension, power and drivetrain, aerodynamics and bodywork, driving input (steering and brakes) and finally testing division. Division leads are responsible for their respective division’s operation and development. They report to our Chief Mechanical Officer and Chief Electrical officer. In addition, we have the treasury to take care of all the finances for the team.

For our car, we have chosen to put in an all-electric powertrain. As exciting as it is to have an IC car, electrification is the future of transportation and we intend to gain first-hand experience working on it. The design philosophy of our car is to be as light as possible and putting reliability at a higher priority than performance. We realize performance requires experience so understanding the car better with a simple design, building it tough and reliable will be our best chance to become successful in the future. To further help us with the car’s development, the university has provided us with an external advisor with knowledge and experience in automobiles.

What advice can you give any teams competing in class 2 in 2020?

Luv: Personally, I feel that time management, overall project planning and teamwork would be critical for a team’s success. For teams participating for the 1st time, it would be advisable to start with a simple design plan. Class 2 provides a wonderful opportunity for the teams to gain experience of the static events as well as gain an understanding of the entire competition. During the static events, teams should come prepared and provide as much as information as possible for the judges. For the design event, judges look for proof of design choices and concept validation. For the cost event, a structured break down of the overall cost and good display of team and project management is beneficial. By viewing the Business Presentation Finals of the previous year’s competition on the Formula Student’s YouTube channel, teams can gain a better understanding of how they can do well in the business event.

What are your best memories of the competition this year?

Jasper: Coming here we don't really know what to expect. Are we going to be competitive? Will we be able to fit in? Luckily, we are overthinking. We were jubilant over our fantastic result. The judges are extremely welcoming and helpful to us, giving us great suggestions as to how to improve for next year. Walking along the paddock we made some new friends, people that are going through the same journey as we do. We exchange design ideas, experiences dealing with team management, etc. And when some guys from class 1 heard that we came all the way from Hong Kong. They enthusiastically show us around the paddock. The atmosphere is just fantastic!

Luv: Yeah, we were surprised and delighted to have secured 2nd position in the design event. Not only did the team enjoy watching the dynamic events but also tried their best to learn from the class 1 teams on how to perform well in the dynamic events. Being present at a circuit where Formula 1 is held was like a dream come true for me. Having the opportunity to walk around the track and Jenson Button signing my team T-shirt is a personal memory which I won’t forget.

What are your objectives for the 2020 competition?

Jasper: For 2020, we are targeting to bring the car to life with decent testing millage on it and obtain overall top 20 in class 1. This year we got the chance to see all the dynamic events in action, the level of competition is high. We believe if we are to have any chance of achieving the ambitious target, a solid amount of testing millage, together with proper driver training would be essential. As a brand new team, experience is key for all of our development and getting these targets done will benefit us a lot. Static Events will be another focus for us, with our experience so far we are confident this is an area we will edge out our competition.

What is new and exciting for your team this year?

A few companies were impressed with our performance in the team’s first Formula Student competition. The team has approached a few of these companies for sponsorship. We are hopeful and positive that we should be able to secure sponsorship soon. We should be setting up our garage soon to build and manufacture the car. The current aerodynamic package of the car is being refined. The undertray design of the car is being improved to enhance the downforce generation of the car. The team is also working on lowering the centre of gravity of the car. The powertrain of the car is also being improved by the team. Currently the team is refining and developing the design of the car.

The team proposes the following brief timeline for the 2020 competition:

  • Now – September 2019: Simulation and refinement of design + gain sponsorship and funding
  • October 2019 – January 2020: Manufacturing and purchasing of the car components
  • February 2020 – April 2020: Assembly and Building of the entire vehicle
  • May 2020 – June 2020: Testing of the vehicle
  • July 2020: Formula Student UK 2020 Class 1 Category

What have been your biggest challenges so far how have you overcome them?

Jasper: Starting as a new team, we have to learn everything from the ground up. However, to my surprise, the most challenging part is not about learning how to do the design. Team management is the most important and difficult. These days, there are a lot of learning material online, if you are willing to invest time to look for it, you will eventually found the answer. Team management on the other hand is very different, understanding it in context does not necessarily means it will goes as planned. We have faced difficulty in extracting time from our non final year members. As our team composition is completely from undergraduate students, only final year student’s contribution will be credited towards their graduation. Thus, other members find it very hard to strike a balance between academic work and the team’s workload. Currently we are closing on a deal with university to make the project credit-bearing for non final year students as well. We believe this will be the start of our teams ever growing interest within our university, ensuring a sustainable team development. I hope one day HKUR will become one of the example teams that other start up team will look up to.

What made you join Formula Student?

Jasper: I am very passionate about automobiles. In fact it is the very reason I have chosen to take mechanical engineering at university. However, back in Hong Kong, there are minimal opportunities to get into automobiles or motorsports industry. So when I heard about formula student and knowing the pedigree it has in this industry. I know it will be something to regret if I do not take part in it. Formula Student offers unparalleled opportunity for students to experience real world engineering. I am proud to have so many like minded teammates in this journey.

Luv: I joined Formula Student primarily because I am extremely passionate about Motorsports and hope to work in this industry one day. Formula Student provides a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved in a motorsport/automobile related project. Particularly in Hong Kong, where vehicular dynamics and race-car engineering subjects are not taught, by being actively involved in this project I got the opportunity to study and gain knowledge in this field from the very basics itself. Formula Student serves as the grassroots for students who want to pursue their career in motorsports or automobile. Through this project, a student can learn invaluable soft and hard skills. The Formula Student Competition in UK provides a wonderful platform for students to network and connect with professionals from the motorsport and automobile industry. The judges for this competition, some of whom are engineers from the top formula 1 teams, are friendly and open to have a brief chat with the students on design and study of a formula type car as well as motorsport career related advice.

What has been your proudest moment at Formula Student?

Jasper: It would definitely be the moment when we got the news that we are 3rd in class 2 overall. Representing Hong Kong and our university (HKU) to obtain such superb result is a great feeling. We did not disappoint our supporters, supervisors and advisors, and most importantly, our hard work pays off!

Luv: The proudest moment of Formula Student would undoubtedly be securing 2nd position in Class 2 design and 3rd position overall. The entire team felt proud to represent Hong Kong in an international competition and perform well at it’s very 1st competition itself. By taking part in the static events, the team did learn quite a lot from the judges directly itself.

How can we keep up to date with you?

Currently the team does not have any website. We shall be setting up the website and an Instagram and twitter account soon and shall provide you with the account channel addresses as soon as they are set up. The team’s facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/hkuracingteam

The team and I would like to thank the faculty advisors and The University of Hong Kong for their continued support in this project.

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