I think you guys completely overlooked Porsche's racing program by dismissing the 4cylinder road car potential. One word - LMP1...The 919 took the 2015 WEC championship and won Le Mans with the V4 hybrid. With the potential of the AWD electric/gas system the V4 engine has a lot of advantages of being as light as the outgoing 991 GT3 and potentially having way more usable torque with motor and charging capability with the ERS. Also it should be no surprise why they would be using 4 cylinder engines thanks to the latest purchase of Ducati. VW made quick alterations to their concepts buy implementing the Ducati engines into there XL design which is a bases to Porsche's use of the V4 engine in the 919.
The best cars to learn heel-toe shifting are in cars with very short stroke engines. Over-square engines with strokes under 3 inches. These are rare and usually more expensive, but Nissans Z cars are most notable although they generally offset this advantage by having heavy clutch pedals and very rattly stick shifts.
Biggest fight against closed cockpit in F1 and Indycar (even NHRA Top fuel, which few people use closed canopies) is fire safety. Single-seat race cars have the tightest cockpit space which by itself makes it hard to get in and out. Second to that is visual acquisitioning, which would make driving a bit awkward for the drivers.
On another note, Audi offers brake calipers covers (fo-calipers) for some of their low-end single piston calipers!!! What a joke! I seeint' it!
Lastly, how can us local Californians make a petition to make a Angeles Forrest Hill Climb!!!
I don't think you guys gave to many good examples for Thomas. For the most part, it was a lot of rambling and what if situations because you have no idea how he drives. But it's too much to argue about over text, If you guys have a live podcast, i would like to voice my opinion.
My first suggestion would be the Golf R or an Audi S3/S4 or B7 RS4 (best choice IMO). The parts bin is endless if you need/want to upgrade and the power is upgradable with great gas mileage with major cargo space. BMW's are cliche and don't have a lot of value outside of M cars. Also for a 2-door the 370nismo comes in both Auto and Manual and has enough room for him and a girl or guy -_- (i don't know, no offense). Plus enough room for College kid stuff. His parents probably will allow him to use the family truck (if he has one - undoubtedly) if he needs extra space.
50 thousand dollars goes a long way new or used, so i can understand the uncontrollable ranting of endless ideas. When it comes to Jags, The XF-R is the only jaguar that should be on his list. Used, they are anywhere between 30-60k in the California region. Horrible resale value but gobs of power, with a super smooth auto gearbox, and you can fit massive tires for maximum grip for those tricky situations. It also has a amazing interior, both comfort and electronic features. Plus its extremely safe if he does a cliff dive off Malibu canyons.