I don't think the Auto is that fragile, I used to have (now my wife has) a Auto WRX MY97. I did Club sprints for over 12 month with it, and used to manual shift all the time without any problem. My wife now drives it and does manual shifts of the traffic lights. Much better take off this way. No I don't know how much different the Auto is to the FXT 04. It certainly is much smoother then the MY97 WRX and there is no need to do it manual, but I am experimenting doning a manual shift. Personaly I don't think it will do any damage, If it di their would be a warning in the manual.