Alan Metni is set to undertake a unique double this weekend, competing in both Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands races at tracks 2,300 miles apart from each other.
Metni, who currently leads his respective class championships in both single-make series, was faced with an issue when Porsche confirmed the date of its ‘SportsCar Together’ festival at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which falls on the same weekend as Rounds 9 and 10 of Super Trofeo at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“My first reaction was even before they were confirmed, when I heard they were considering it, I reached out to IMSA and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you realize this but you do have people in both series,” he told Sportscar365.
“‘I think it’s something you’d want to encourage and this is going to be really, really difficult if you’re going to leave it this way.’
“In the end they had to; they really didn’t have any other choice and I get that.
“I then thought I’d just wait it out. I was sure one of these events was going to change or maybe I’d be doing much better in one series than the other and it would be logical to pick which one to go to.
“As it turned out, it didn’t quite work out that way.
“As we got closer to the events I realized that I am leading in both series and now I’m going to have to pick one to forfeit.
“It was pretty disappointing. I talked to the two different teams involved and tried to figure out what the fair and right thing to do was.
“There have been a lot of people who have worked really, really hard this whole season to make this happen. Then to turn to them and say, ‘I’m just going to walk away from that’ just felt really, really bad.
“A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d just try and do both.
“In a way that risks both [series’ titles] but it’s hard to pick between these two things that I’ve had an allegiance and commitment and gratitude towards each of them.”
Metni will start off his weekend at Laguna Seca, taking part in both practice sessions, qualifying and the first race of the Super Trofeo event in his Am-class Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo before taking a red-eye flight Saturday evening that will put him into Indianapolis in time for the 8:45 a.m. ET start of Race 2 for Carrera Cup on Sunday morning.
The 54-year-old founder and CEO of iFLY, an indoor skydiving experience, said he organized his cross-country schedule this way due to Carrera Cup having three races on its event, in order to make up for several canceled rounds in Canada earlier this year.
Metni currently holds a 54-point lead in the Pro-Am class in his Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which he tested at the Brickyard last week.
“It’s still going to be challenging not just because of the logistics hurdles but the switching, the overnight [flight] and the tiredness,” Metni said.
“But I’ve done 24-hour races before and have been in race cars tired and have gotten in race cars cold. It’s possible, it’s just a little bit harder, which makes it a little more exciting.”
What’s more, a provision made by Super Trofeo will allow Metni to score last-place class points in Sunday’s Race 2 that he will miss, with a similar measure having been enacted in Carrera Cup for its first race of its triple-header weekend.
“Interestingly, Chris [Ward, Senior Manager, Motorsport for Automobili Lamborghini America] is the one who told me about the fact that last year [Super Trofeo] had done this.
“When people missed races due to COVID scheduling conflicts they basically exercised their right under force majeure and gave those people last place points.
“I asked that since they set that precedent would they do it again? They said they would. Someone mentioned it to Porsche that Lamborghini was doing this and Porsche said they would too.
“It’s quite nice — in terms of the finish — quite a bit of support from them for a driver that’s trying to do something that was already kinda hard and interesting and fun and cool, and frankly something you’d want more drivers to do, which is to compete in multiple IMSA series.”
Metni Enjoying “Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain” in Dual Series Endeavor
Metni said he’s found competing in both single-make series “quite challenging,” particularly when running on the same weekend as has been the case on two previous occasions so far this year.
The Porsche veteran has dominated Carrera Cup competition in his Type-992 Porsche, claiming Pro-Am class victories in all but one race to date, while consistency has put him atop the Super Trofeo Am class standings, with seven podiums in eight races.
“This whole year has been quite challenging in that regard,” Metni said.
“When we intentionally decided to do two different series with two different cars, knowing that we’d probably take a step back in overall performance in the short term but in the long term it’d make me a better driver, more versatile, better able to feel and interpret what the car wants at any given situation.
“It’s kind of been short-term pain for long-term gain and I signed on for that. That’s pretty much how it’s gone.
“I will say it’s probably been a little harder than expected, to switch back and forth between cars on the same weekend. On different weekends it’s not so bad but it takes a little bit of time to make that gear shift for me.
“If I was a more experienced guy, maybe it would happen more quickly.
“It’s been a handful and a huge challenge and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. I’ve really appreciated the guys on both my teams — Change Racing and Kelly-Moss Road & Race — that have hustled and have worked hard to make it possible.
“When I’m jumping out of one car and jumping into another, there are a lot of loose ends that somebody has to take care of. My teammates have done a great job supporting this big ask. I really appreciate what they’ve done this year.”