As far as performance auto is the way to go. There is a reason why top dragsters are auto
35th Anni. Laser Red 3.8 coupe
ET: 1/8-9.892 @71.57 ET: 1/4-15.452 @88.06
4.6 stick ETs coming Sept 12th
98 Ranger XLT 4x4 Oxford White 3.0 M/T
Don't they they use air-shifted automatics that are tuned to shift at a specific RPM? The reason is for more consistency. Drag racing automatics are also built to reduce parsitic power loss through the drive train. Finally, aren't most drag racers using 2-seed transmissions?
I personally don't see why Ford would not offer the GT500 with an automatic, except for the possible reason being that it would significantly reduce HP at the rear wheels.