This study proposes a new empirical model to effectively predict the excavation performance of a shield tunnel boring machine (TBM). The TBM performance is affected by the geological and geotechnical characteristics as well as the machine parameters of TBM. Field penetration index (FPI) is correlated with rock mass parameters to analyze the effective geotechnical parameters influencing the TBM performance. The result shows that RMR has a more dominant impact on the TBM performance than UCS and RQD. RMR also shows a significant relationship with the specific energy, which is defined as the energy required for excavating the unit volume of rock. Therefore, the specific energy can be used as an indicator of the mechanical efficiency of TBM. Based on these relationships with RMR, this study suggests an empirical performance prediction model to predict FPI, which can be derived from the correlation between the specific energy and RMR.