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The Team

Who We Are|Cars + Drivers|Rent a Ride

Officially established in 08/2008, Red Panther Motorsport is a childhood dream having taken shape over many years. Like so many racing stories, ours also starts with Go-Kart racing. For us, this start was overseas in Europe (Switzerland and England). With a later move to the US, we found ourselves to have successfully competed in Go-Kart racing on both continents when started thinking about and looking forward to making the step up to race cars.

Very late in 2017, that time had finally come. We acquired our very own, first race car - A former Pirelli World Touring Championship (PWC) winning car - a VW Jetta 2.0 GLI, purpose built by AUDI Motorsport USA. Plans started to shape and 2018 was dedicated to get the car ready, dialed in and set up to then compete in a first full season in the acclaimed US pro-series US Touring Car Challenge (USTCC) in 2019. After a good start that saw us winning a USTCC round in 2018 and the first round in 2019, we had to go back to the drawing board and make changes to the race car increasing liability and data acquisition systems. Besides that main entry in USTCC, Red Panther Motorsport also competes in NASA and SCCA club racing events. Not yet fully grown up, on- and off-track technical race support is currently provided by having onboarded the several of the long established, hugely experienced and very successful former 'Life’s Good Racing' crew from Livermore, CA to Red Panther Motorsport.


 
 
     

    “Reto is a very fast driver from the get go. Learns the tracks fast. Steady improvements. He had to learn how to somewhat curb his enthusiasm. An absolute pleasure to work with.”

    -- Gary Chapman
    Managing Director
    Protrain Racing Products Ltd - British, GP & European Champions

Reto Baumann - Team Owner / Driver
#53 VW Jetta

Reto started competing in Karting at his early ages in Switzerland, moving up in his later years to the Rotax Max heavy classes racing for the English ProTrain Racing Team run by Gary Chapman. Once in the US, Reto raced Karts in the East Coast Rotax Max Senior Championship and also the Sanzaru Games Karting Championship on the US West Coast collecting various wins and top ten finishes along the way and at different levels. Reto provides consistent results and is an experienced and fast driver. He twice tested an F3 car and really enjoyed the open seater experience.

In 2018, Reto drove his first endurance race, taking part and finishing the gruesome USAF 25hrs of Thunderhill and in 2019 finishing that very race with a second place in the E0 class. He currently holds an FIA International (Bronze Level), an IMSA and NASA competition race license.

When not at a race track, Reto spends time with his ‘racing and ice hockey enthused’ daughter, goes hiking and traveling with his girlfriend or just enjoys a glass of wine with friends. He works as a Global Strategic Account Manager for an international technology firm headquartered in Seattle. Reto really sees Red Panther Motorsport as a family, its team members as the ‘engine’ and the ‘passion' to push forward in search of racing success.


 

Rob Harper - Driver
#28 Chevrolet Corvette

A former pro AMA motocross / supercross rider that certainly had his share of broken bones, which ultimately turned him to become a race-car driver jumping in on the deep end. Racing success came fast with Rob winning the 2018 US Touring Car Championship GT Class crown. He followed up his championship winning year with a second place in 2019, also collecting the award for '2019 Most Impressive Drive' which Rob deservedly claimed for his incredible drive and race win at Sonoma.

Rob is also busy aside from the racetrack, building up his own fraud investigations company having been in the law enforcement business throughout his working career. A proud father of three, he spends lots of his free time coaching his son's two traveling basketball teams orout on the baseball fields during Little League. Together with his son's, Rob had also put their off-road Jeep to the test, taking it through the famous 'Rubicon Trail'. Completing the family is wife Susan, along with a cocker spaniel are golden doodle, Pixie and Sarge.

Incredibly happy to support Rob in his racing career and look forward as to where we might be able to take it to together.

 

Gary Trudeau - Driver
#52 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Very respected and well known within the NorCal car and race enthusiasts. Gary has numerous wins and podiums to his name, both in club and endurance racing. Gary also used to be the USTCC Race Director for 5 years until he stepped down in 2017.

Infected early with the 'racing virus' when he was gifted a one-day Jim Russell Racing School class by his Mother and Wife in 1994, but still not fully confinced yet. Gary then started to crew for Dave Modderman and Tony Heyer, helping them with their rental Porsche 944's. One day though, these two guys signed him up for a Group 1 NASA outing. That's all it took! Very soon thereafter, Gary got his own 944 which he raced in club racing from 1997 to 2001. He also competed in endurance racing, being 2nd in class and 5th overall at the inaugural 12hrs of Thunderhill. Gary also won the NASA Enduro Championship in 1999 and in 2005, capping it off in style when his team won the 25hrs of Thunderhill with an overall win.

Racing was put on hold when Gary started a family and bought a house. And if that wasn't enough, he also went ahead to successfully build his own businesses - Gary's Airbag Service and ACS Automotive Calibration Specialists. They specialize in airbags and all of the newer collision avoidance technologies, have a mobile business as well as having gone from a single shop to three locations covering all of NorCal from Monterey all the way to Eureka within the last year. Today, Gary's business counts 25 employees and if all goes to plan, they will add another 2 locations and 5 more staff by end of 2020.

Happily married for 25 years (Sep 2020), Gary and his wife have a 19-year old son who will also be getting his racing license joining his father at the track. In his younger days, Gary used to race RC cars competitively and even was sponsored to do so. Today, he enjoys anything outdoors, from hiking, biking, boating, and he loves spending time in Tahoe.

Red Panther Motorsport is proud to be able to welcome Gary to our team and racing family!

 

Clayton Ketcher - Development Driver / Team Support
Teen Mazda Challenge

Clayton currently competes at the front of the NASA NorCal Teen Mazda Challenge, having finished the last race season just outside of the podium. This was mostly due to not having been able to compete at each race weekend, trying to juggle a trying school schedule with his racing ambitions. Clayton competed in his first endurance races in 2019, including the 25hrs of Thunderhill, and loved the challenge and experience.

When time allows, Clayton travels with Red Panther Motorsport to some select USTCC races helping out wherever he can, attend driver meetings and make connections for his future racing career.

Very pleased to have such a bright, young and promising driver with the team. This young man can go far!

 

Dave Brown - Team Manager / Driver Coach / Driver

A very accomplished, successful former pro-driver in his own rights, Dave has taken on the role of Team Manager looking after the trackside operations. He will be working with all team members and also coaching the drivers as they compete in their respective classes.

Dave has been involved in motorsports for over 25 years. He competed and won in Karting, Formula, IT and GT cars, Prototypes, NASCAR Stock Cars and more... Today, Dave has amassed 21 Championship titles - including 2 in USTCC. Amongst his accollades are professional drives for race teams, car companies, marketing agencies and TV production companies.

Very well known amongst NASA NorCal members, Dave is a NASA driving instructor for over 20 years and is also a competition licensing instructor. In this time, hundreds of first time-drivers were coached by him through HPDE, where he had also been a group leader at all levels, all the way up to their competition license. Seasoned race drivers still call him up for his advice! Further, Dave helped NASA NorCal define their HPDE and Competition rules and regulations.

On a non-racing weekend, Dave might be found in the stands at one of his kid's ice-hockey games, fishing with buddies, ripping his guitar with family, flying radio control planes or tinkering with his vintage Datsun 240Z.

We feel very fortunate and grateful to have Dave with Red Panther Motorsport.

 

Matt Jaskol - Driver Coach

Nowadays, Matt Jaskol may be best known to the fans of the ABC reality show ‘Castaways’, where he has been a recent cast member. The Las Vegas native has spent the better part of his life pursuing his ambitions. Whether as an aspiring professional racing driver, working in the film industry as a stuntman, or pursuing his hobby of skydiving, Matt has lived his life to the fullest and has every intention in continuing to do so.

Matt has nearly 20years of race car driving experience and competed in as diverse disciplines of motorsports including Karting, open wheel / Indy Car, Off-Road, Sports Cars and NASCAR. In 2003 he was selected by Red Bull for its US F1 Academy Driver search, becoming the first ever driver to win a North America race for Red Bull (Montreal GP, Formula BMW) and also won the 2004 Indianapolis GP in the same class. He was the first rookie to ever win the ASA Speed Truck Championship and went on to race Indy Lights as well as NASCAR Super Late Model division. Many of his racing years he also spent as an instructor to some illustrious names in racing. For example, Matt was the first race instructor to the 2016 Indianapolis 500 Winner Alexander Rossi. To this day, occasionally, Matt still works with Alex.

After Matt’s first skydive 4 years ago, he was hooked and found a new passion in skydiving. To date he has more than 500 solo skydives around the world. To name a few, Matt has jumped from a hot air ballon, skydived over the Pyramids of Giza with his Dad - and Matt has many more destinations to come. Outside of his hectic lifestyle, Matt still finds time to train for triathlons and help take care of family and his father’s business.

We are proud to call Matt a valued member of our Red Panther Motorsport family.

 

Marion Engelke - Driver / Operations and Marketing
#111 Mitsubishi Evo VIII

Originating from the country that doesn’t know freeway speed limits, Marion has ‘naturally’ taken on the ‘racing bug’. She currently goes through NASAs HPDE program and thoroughly enjoys driving at speed, learning new skills and meeting likeminded people.

Marion is a versatile project management professional with international work experience. A key contributor and creative thinker, Marion has worked closely with executive teams and individuals to promote career development and increase corporate engagement. Her areas of competence encompass Project Management, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Partnership Management, Marketing, Sales, Recruiting and Training Management.

Aside from her work, Marion loves hiking. She completed the 500+ miles of the ‘Camino de Santiago’ from St. Jean-du-Pierre in France, over the Pyrenees and through Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela in just 30 days. The Inca trail in Peru was another hiking accomplishment that challenged her in a different way with the altitude.

We are super happy to have Marion as part of the ever growing Red Panther Motorsport family.

   
   
 

Richard Pochop - Team Photographer
#eyephotou

To have a team photographer on the RPM team has always been one of our desires. We are incredibly honored, that Richard took on this role. He not only brings a passion for motorsport and fast cars along, but also a big heart and great team spirit.

Photography has always been a huge interest for Richard. So much so, that he started 'Richard Pochop Photography' as a business. We dont know if there is anything better than making your pastime your profession.

Since then, Richard has been booked for many events and brings his dedication for that 'hard to get' perfect shot to all his assignments. Whether that is for Sports, Music, Theater or Fashion Events, Family shoots, Birthdays, Portraits or simply one of his private favorites - Landscape Photography. If you are in need for great pictures, do not look any further than Richard!

Our social media presence and trackside reporting has hugely increased with the quality of his work. We are grateful to have a photographer of Richard's abtitude on our team.

   
   
 

Chris Hovey - Crew Chief / Spotter

It can’t get any better than having Chris as your Crew Chief! Chris has been building, crafting and tuning race cars for more years than he would freely admit himself. His experience spans as wide as the universe and as deep as the deepest point of the sea, spanning from design, construction and campaign support on championship-level Midgets, Sprint, Stock and Indy Cast as well as Modifieds, Off-Road Racers, Hill Climb Cars and Auto-Crossers.

Chris has seen it all and worked with top drivers such as Mike Bliss, Davey Hamilton and countless others over the years. Chris has numerous wins and over 20 National Championships to his name. He leads all mechanical activities and is also a leader / mentor for new crew members. During his free time, Chris is often found at local race tracks.

After work he enjoys a cold beer or sometimes a good glass of Gin. He work’s at the acclaimed Life’s Good Racing & Street Performance Shop in Livermore, CA as their Shop Manager, where he looks after our race cars as well.

Red Panther Motorsport has a hard time expressing how valuable Chris is to this team!

   
   
 

Eric Van Zandt - Race Car Chief / Spotter

Over a decade of motorsport enthusiasm working with teams and drivers. Eric has a ‘just get it done’ mentality, showcasing excellent and diverse hands-on skills around the cars and paddock. A competition driver himself, Eric successfully competes in NASA NorCal’s TT2. Happy to share his wealth of knowledge, he has also been Reto’s driving instructor through NASA's HPDE to competition license program. Eric’s calm manner on the radio, combined with his overall mechanical and driving/coaching experience, make him an outstanding addition to the team.

When not racing or being trackside, Eric is a father and a business owner in his own rights, running his own aquarium maintenance company. Eric is an incredible joy to work with and we are happy to call him part of the Red Panther Motorsport family!

   
   
 

John Lothrop - Race Car Chief / Spotter

The one to banter with! John has been a part of the racing family for such a long time, always one of the first ones to land a helping hand. He really knows his way around a race car. For years, John had competed himself in the Spec BMW SE30 class, dueling with our very own James Gouveia. A real 'jack of all trades', John is and indispensable part of this race team. Sometimes, John also competed with and supported his son's racing aspirations.

Not to forget that John has a passion for endurance racing as well, having supported cars and drivers at various 25hrs of Thunderhill, through any weather conditions imaginable.

Being Director of Operations at COMMEX Corporation, he brings a lot of valuable knowledge and experience to the team. Never shy to raise a beer with the team, his Taco's second to none, we always look forward to banter and laugh with this guy.

So very happy to have John being part of the Red Panther Motorsport family since the start.

   
   
 

Gary Minnich - Race Car Chief

Gary has a broad automotive industry background. He is a manufacturing industry professional and thrives in the hands-on physical world of manufacturing. For 17 years, Gary used to work at NUMMI in Fremont, CA and became well versed in the skills of continuous improvement (Kaizen), just-in-time delivery, project management and quality improvements to name a few.

With a great sense for creative problem solving and attention to details, Gary helps the team with more than just driving improvements. His leadership skills and experience as 'Car Chief' at the former Life's Good Racing! team makes Red Panther Motorsport very happy to have him as part of the family.

Away from the race track, Gary loves working on cars, socializing and spending time with his family and friends.

   
   
 

James Gouveia Jr. - Driver / Race Car Support / Spotter
#94 BMW SE30

This guy can pretty much fix ‘anything’! Like most of us on the team, James is a competition race driver, successfully campaigning his ‘black betty’ Spec E30 BMW. Coaching is like life blood to his vanes, proud to be able to share his many years of experience with young and new drivers. His inputs during a track walk are invaluable. A calm and collected manner, paired with a great sense of humor are some of James’ trademarks and are very well received amongst the team and drivers.

Besides his passion for motorsport, James enjoys spending time with his children and works full-tim as a Senior Reliability Technician on luminaries and lighting control products and sometimes even as a camera operator at race events.

Excited to have James as part of Red Panther Motorsport.

   
   
 

Mike Brown - Race Car Chief / Spotter

Many at the racetracks know him as 'Uncle Mike'. Mike's passion for racing started a long time ago, following every NASCAR race possible. Years of following the races, regardless of own on-track experience, have paid huge dividends in Mike becoming one the best spotters we know of. He has a fantastic sense and awareness of the interactions of cars on track. Understands the flags and rules.

Mike is a key member with his mechanical prowess. Constantly helping to improve the cars and drivers.

The paddock also knows Mike as the lead guitarist and singer of his own Rock & Blues band. Each season, at least once, the band sets up at Red Panther Motorsport after the last Saturday session, performing and providing one of the most memorable evenings at the race track.

Mike works as a 'Press Operator' with Pacific West Graphics. The North State's largest design, print and mail company. And last but by no way least, Mike also met and later proposed to his now wife at the race track - under the Red Panther Motorsport awnings...

   
   
 

Tim McGraw - Race Car Support

Tim originates from the US East Coast and used to participate in AUDI Club Events in the 90s. Tim also used to be an SCCA flagger for several years. A motorsport enthusiast since his early days, Tim had been looking to get back trackside here, since moving to the West Coast. Red Panther Motorsport is lucky to have Tim having found us joining the team to help with all aspects of supporting the race cars under our banner.

As an AI Ops network specialist, Tim brings along a knowledge that no other team member has. His commute to work is also part of his work out regime. Tim cycle commutes and is an avid road cyclist on the weekends.

And contrary to what some might believe, Tim is not the famous country artist, nor is he related in any way...


 

Andrew Hoffman - Race Car Support

Andrew just joined the Red Panther Motorsport family. His profile and introduction will be made available soon.

Welcome to the Red Panther Motorsport family Andrew!


 

Stefan Petrov - Race Car Support

Having worked with the Life's Good Racing team and also having supported James Gouveia and Dave Brown in their enduro efforts, Stefan is well known in the team. His profile and introduction will be made available soon.

We are happy to have Stefan in the family working with us trackside.


 

Kayla Baumann - Team Help / Go-Kart Racer / #1 Fan & Supporter

This young lady is simply happy to be at the racetrack whenever she can. Kayla helps out with the team, supports guests and sponsors alike and creating fond memories with friends and family. Currently, she races 100ccm go-karts for fun, whenever she can fit it into her already busy schedule. Fast and talented, her immediate dream is to start racing Miata's in NASA NorCal's Teen Mazda Challenge as soon as her age allows for.

Aside from racing, Kayla loves travelling, movies, acting, singing and socializing. Kayla is also an avid and very successful ice-hockey player, competing in the highest NorCal Hockey League - also there taking it to the boys!

This young lady has a bright future ahead if herself.


 

You would like to see your name here?

You want to get through the NASA HPDE program with professional assistance and coaching?

You are Interested in motorsports, have automotive experience or just a passion to learn and be part of a race team?

You are looking for trackside support? Want to run your race car but concentrate on driving? Getting pro-coaching?

No problem! We'd be happy to talk with you. Please use our CONTACT form on this site to get in contact. We look forward to hear from you!


 

Founded in 2008, Red Panther Motorsport is a California
based US Touring Car Championship race team, running
in multiple series in the United States.

     

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