The glamour of Bentley's slammed Continental GT3 racer hides a distinctly hard-nosed business approach that shows the strong steel under the skin at Crewe these days.

Apart from the road-car spin-off, details of which are in next week's mag, there is good money to be made out of motor racing. Bentley reckons that globally there are in excess of 150 races run to FIA GT3 regs every year, with just about every major country with a racing heritage – and many that don't – holding a series for GT3 cars, including Brazil, Malaysia and China. Races at the Nürburgring can have in excess of 250 starters.

All this matters because Bentley is plunging into GT3 and, assuming it goes well, will develop a loyal following that should ensure a steady demand for cars, parts and race support – putting cash back into the coffers at Crewe.

Rivals know this, of course. It's reckoned that globally there could be as many as 80 Mercedes SLS GT3s racing today and a similar number of Ferrari 458 Italias. The number of Porsche 911 GT3s is even higher. And in less than a year, McLaren might have sold about 25 GT3 versions of the MP4-12C.

Considering that about 14 individual models are recognised by the FIA, compared with about four GTE cars (the Le Mans formula sanctioned by the ACO),there's a huge market to be tapped by Bentley and one that could ensure its presence on the world's race tracks for decades to come.

It's not impossible to speculate that the Continental GT3 could eventually be joined by a 'GT2' road car and other race-inspired variants, just as Porsche exploits its track presence to put scorching road cars in the hands of enthusiasts.

In the light of the GT3 program, bosses at Bentley – many of them ex-Porsche – are talking about lighter road-going Bentleys for the future, which shouldpush the company's cars in a more dynamic direction.