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Back In The Driver Seat

San Ramon, CA – Finally Reto Baumann was able to get back in the driver seat. Practically the first time this year that he was able to wheel the #53 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 GLI powered by 034Motorsport. And Auto Club Speedway at Fontana, CA is a track he doesn’t have that much experience on. It provides a unique and super-fast challenge with using the NASCAR oval banking for T1 and T2 which are taken at around 145mph flat… Your brain surely tells you one thing, but your right foot must stay planted firmly to the bottom of the accelerator and you trust your car and the physics to make if through. You don’t have that on any of the other tracks in California.

With all the changes the car had undergone over the Winter, there was a learning experience for Reto in how to wheel that car now with the wider Hankook tires and improved aerodynamics. Unfortunately, it is still a turbo powered car and that sweltering ambient heat had quite an impact on the car’s performance.

Throughout the sessions, Reto clocked very respectable lap times, not too far off the Audi R8 armada of Viktor Czapla and Matthew Rivkin. The launch control of the Audi’s helped them get off the line fast. But Reto managed to have a good start of his own, right away keeping pace with the Audi’s. Reto did forego an opportunity to take second place on the first lap into the braking zone of T3 because he knew that the Audi’s were faster over the full race distance. He decided to not interfere with the two of them fighting for the win. For at least the first 5 to 6 laps Reto kept up nose to tail with the two of them, enjoying the primary view of their battle. Then the heat came into play and Reto had to let the Audi’s pull away, though keeping them in sight – Just in case something would happen, he would be ready to pounce.

In the end, it was a third-place finish and some well needed Championship points. Off to Sonoma Raceway at the end of August for Round 4 of the Hankook Tires United States Touring Car Championship.

Reto Baumann reviews his Round THREE performance:
“Firstly, a big thank you to Crew Chief / Car Chief Chris Hovey. The car again ran without any issues. And the heat is something we had addressed to a point, but with ambient temps around 110F, we must do more to keep everything cool. One part was cool every session though, and that was me – Thanks to the new CoolBoxx system cooling down the driver. I don’t know how I would have been without this system in the car this weekend. Happy to come home with a podium finish and the Championship points.”

About Red Panther Motorsport (RPM)
A leading California based professional racing team. RPM competes in the Hankook Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race series and has won multiple class Championships. For more information, please see and visit and like us on our social media channels.

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