I would think the usefulness would vary from manufacture to manufacture. If the company builder sells a lot of boats with HP500's then going F-1, or F-2 makes a sense. If they are say a smaller company that does more one off type stuff maybe P-3 or P-2 would be better. Either way they can learn how rig there boats better for the abuse of racing conditions. If they hold up during that they'll be great for the weekend warrior. Also with the open rules in the P-Classes the manufactures could try some new "pro-types" that may not be legal other places, but would give them an edge to sell with.
The poker runs would help also, but again which end of the market at the runs do you go after ? Stock 502 powered we're out here to enjoy ourselfs or 1300HP Sterlings we want to be first to the card stop ? Not everyone can afford the big power, but gets you a ton more ink !!!
I too would've loved to have seen what that Gladiator could have done with this years water conditions.
I'll close with a question. Why do we see so many Warlocks in F-1 ? Is it that much better of a boat ? Is it because the Factory was helping out a lot of people back in the day ? Or just because no one else has the pockets ?