Vandals Racing was begun at the University of Idaho in 2000 by John Ma, Marc O'Dell, Bob Drew, Zac Doerzaph, and a few other industrious young engineering students as a club activity for the Mechanical Engineering Department. With the support of the College of Engineering and Dr. Tony Anderson, they began working on a design for the May, 2001 competition. These students traveled to Pontiac, MI in May to view the competition firsthand, returning home with a fresh set of ideas for their vehicle. The group worked throughout the 2000-2001 school year to complete their vehicle and debuted their work as rookies at the May competition. Their hard work paid dividends as they placed eighth place in the autocross event and 28th place out of 120 schools overall, earning them rookie of the year honors for 2001.