So I sort of figured out a way to do this.

1. Add a variant within panels
2. Add a visibility rule so that different variants show at different urls (clean urls and paths required). ie; yoursite.com/paneltitle/variant1 yoursite.com/paneltitle/variant1 
3. Creat a custom module to hook into the menu. There is a great example of a menu module in the module code samples on drupal.org. 


this seems to have worked for me