After my 4 hours of fun at the GT500 Track tour I was planning to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, about the technical aspects of the GT500. After reading a few of the magazine reviews about the car I realized there are others with far more automotive experience that can accomplish that task better. The essential question we are all asking ourselves is will you sell you current Ford to obtain one? Having owned a GT350, GT350R, and Whippled Terminator I want to present to you my thoughts on the matter. These are my angles, and many things are left to consider. Please share your thoughts when you finish reading this, as it may help others. The GT500 is many things. One thing I can confidently say that it wont be, is a disappointment. There is a concert of systems working in harmony to make that car exquisite to drive. Anyone that currently owns a GT350 will have that same special feeling and shit eating grin when you get inside of it. On track the CFTP manages weight, body roll, turn in, grip, throttle application, shifts and everything else without you thinking about it. On the drag strip it makes launching a simple process without you thinking about it. Set a lap record without breaking a sweat then go enjoy a nice charcuterie board in between sessions.... Remember that thought until later... When you think about combat effectiveness, or picking the right tool for the job, the A7 from Tremec makes complete and total sense. With contenders like the Hellcat and ZL1 LE there would be too much margin for error with a manual if your ultimate goal is to demolish everything else currently on the street. Not only to demolish, but to give customers of all skill levels the ability to harness the power on tap no matter what performance situation they enter into. I spoke with a Tremec engineer at the event and quickly mentioned the epitome of manually shifting automatic transmissions, the Porsche PDK. It was made clear that much effort was put into benchmarking against that transmission, and making this one even better. They did it, although experience with the transmission on the street in traffic is an unknown. If anyone here has been in a high horsepower manual car you know with great power, comes great responsibility. Power management out of an apex or off the line is a constant battle, and often costs you time. I did not think the automatic transmission would be rewarding, but it definitely was. The Whippled Terminator I had was an absolute beast, but really took a skilled driver to extract the most from. The car was either roasting the tires or roasting the tires anytime I put that foot to the floor. I do not foresee that being the case here, and that is a benefit for everyone driving it. The A7 is not only a win for the car, but a win for all of us that want to see the GT500 on the top of the food chain. HOWEVER, there are many factors about performance car ownership that many never discuss. The ability to fit your kids and wife inside for a trip to cars and coffee. The point of diminishing returns with modifications. Dreading a trip because being caught in traffic will give your left knee atrophy. Tossing the keys to your wife so she can take the car to work and not be in fear of stalling out on the driveway into the office. New enthusiasts that would be too timid to push the car because a stick shift is intimidating. Enthusiasts with a little more mileage on their bodies and cant manage a stick shift anymore. This level of accessibility and versatility makes the GT500 a big win, but will also bring many more buyers into the pool. As I took the 600 mile drive back home from Vegas I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything in my GT350R. Several other vehicles pulled out cameras and the driver of a Dodge truck chased me down to get a closer look. Downshifts with a quick rev match to pass big rigs was satisfying at my core. The looks, rarity, and balance of the GT350R made me happy with the woman I married. Knowing that when GT500 production gets fully underway there will be plenty of them in production and at dealerships. Aside from the CFTP, exclusivity and ADM wont be the name of the game for long. My brief time in the GT500 was amazing. What stuck in my mind the most was my feeling of detachment while on track. That previous thought about exquisite management of all the systems, it also was what made me feel a little disconnected from the whole experience. Kind of like when your wife tells you to lay back and let her do all the work. Undoubtedly fun, but I still want to put in a little work.....sometimes. It’s my only criticism, but its not the GT500’s fault. My brain and testosterone filled need to feel like I am the one controlling the car is what holds me back. That will be the basic question you need to ask yourself before you make the move. Are you ready to fundamentally change your mind about what performance driving is like without a manual. Those that are ready will not be disappointed. Those that are not ready, still wont be disappointed, but you may want to keep 6 gears nearby for that occasional fix. This closing statement is not made to knock any other variant of Mustang on the road, or to seem elitist about the GT350R. It just happens to be the top dog Mustang at the moment. Anyone who has switched from the GT350 to the R knows the cars are different, and even modifications to a GT350 wont necessarily get you there without some financial investment. The limited production, factory aero, and magazine reviews make the R a car of obsession and desire. It’s performance is renowned and envied by other car enthusiasts across the board. If you have a GT350R because you enjoy analog driving input from a manual I do not think selling your current car for the GT500 is the best move. The 500 is amazing, but not such a different feeling than what you have. The control and linear power application built into the GT500 because of the A7 still makes it feel similar to what the GT350R does with the manual. Words do not quite describe the satisfaction of when you heel-toe downshift into the apex, but also wont be enough to wash away the feeling of getting passed by a GT500 right after you hit the straightaway. Getting a slightly used base GT500 to mod how you want would be my advice for R owners. Buying both would be ideal if you got it like that, or if you are mentally ready to let the third pedal go. If you have a GT350 or other built Mustang though......This GT500 is hella hella fast like VTEC duuu, and you probably wont beat it. Try to build your own and it will likely cost you more with little to be gained in resale. The GT500 is hungry, and equipped with a proper driver and sticky tire it will eat most cars at any event. I can almost guarantee if you best the GT500 in any arena with equal tire compound you probably beat the driver, and not the car. If you did beat the car, chances are you had to give up so much utility in every other arena that the GT500 still wins at being more versatile. Built or bought. Driver skill or the car. Perhaps none of it matters if you are winning. If you own any other variant of performance Mustang short of the R and have the financial ability to afford a GT500, I would be selling my baseball card collection, cancelling the built motor, selling all my spare parts, and calling MSRP dealerships until my fingers bled. First startup and WOT pull will leave you with no regrets.