The Most Filthy Rich Racing Drivers

The world of high-speed racing isn’t just about adrenaline and glory; it’s also a realm where success can lead to immense wealth. The most successful drivers in the industry, from the Formula 1 circuits to NASCAR tracks, have not only etched their names in the history books for their racing prowess but also for their staggering net worths.

Racing drivers are hard to miss and even harder to catch. But do you ever wonder how much they earn while driving little cars and pressing legs on the accelerator? They are among the top moneymakers in the sports business. Formula one is considered the premier class of motorsports. Every year, top Formula 1 drivers make millions. The net worth of F1 drivers is equal to and even more than some of the biggest Hollywood stars. Yes, by driving “little car,” they make money to buy big and luxurious cars and mansions. Here, we are going to list down the richest racing drivers of all time.

Here, we delve into the lives of the richest race car drivers, exploring how they’ve turned laps into luxury.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt at the Pepsi 400 in 2002
Earnhardt at the Pepsi 400 in 2002

Dale Earnhardt Jr., son of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr., has carved out a remarkable career in racing, becoming one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR history. His achievements on the track, coupled with his personality, have led to lucrative endorsements and business ventures. Apart from his racing career, Earnhardt Jr. has ventured into broadcasting, where his insights and popularity have added significantly to his wealth. His involvement in various business ventures, including automotive dealerships and media production, further bolsters his financial status.

Interesting Facts

  1. NASCAR Legacy: Dale Jr. is the son of 7-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Sr., one of the sport’s most revered figures.
  2. Media Personality: Post-retirement, he became a media personality, contributing to NBC’s NASCAR coverage.
  3. Business Ventures: He owns JR Motorsports, a successful NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series team.
  4. Philanthropy: Earnhardt Jr. is involved in various charitable works, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  5. Author: He authored a book about his experiences in racing and dealing with the loss of his father.

Michael Schumacher

A name synonymous with Formula 1 excellence, Michael Schumacher’s legendary career has made him more than just a sports icon. His multiple World Championships and countless race wins have translated into a fortune, making him one of the wealthiest athletes in the world.

With the fortune of over 800 million dollars, this 51-year-old racing driver from Germany is the richest racing driver. Schumacher is one of the biggest names in racing sports and he is thought to be one of the successful drivers in the F1 all time. In his career of 17 years (1991-2006 and 2010-2012), he has made several world championships titles (7) on his names. He holds several records in the sports to his name and undoubtedly, he tops every list of the richest racing driver with his whopping net worth of $800M – the gap between his net worth and the second name the list says it all.

Interesting Facts

  1. Formula 1 Records: Schumacher holds several F1 records, including the most World Championships (7) and the most consecutive titles (5).
  2. Ferrari’s Golden Era: He was instrumental in reviving Ferrari’s fortunes in F1 during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  3. Skiing Accident: In 2013, Schumacher sustained severe injuries in a skiing accident, which has significantly impacted his health.
  4. Early Career: He won his first F1 race in 1992 with Benetton-Ford.
  5. Humanitarian Work: Schumacher has been involved in numerous charitable activities, including UNESCO.

Eddie Jordan

The former racing driver, who also founded Jordan Grand Pix in 1990, has made a whopping net worth of $475M and grabbed the second rank on our list. In his long career as a racer as well as team manager, he also owned an F1 team and many big names in the sports such as Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, Ralf Schumacher, and several others competed for his team. So, the former Bank of Ireland employee “straight outta Dublin” is now among the richest racing drivers with a fortune earned from his career and team.

Interesting Facts

  1. Jordan Grand Prix: Eddie Jordan is best known for founding Jordan Grand Prix, a successful Formula 1 constructor.
  2. Musician: Jordan is also a talented drummer and has played in various bands.
  3. Television Career: Post-F1, he has worked as a television pundit for the BBC and Channel 4’s F1 coverage.
  4. Business Ventures: Apart from racing, Jordan has been successful in various business endeavors, including a stint as a motorsport consultant.
  5. Philanthropy: He is known for his charity work, particularly for children and cancer organizations.

Don Schumacher

The great Don Schumacher at the age of 75, is considered to be one of the richest drivers in the world. He commenced his career in the 60s in the drag racing and retired in 1974 to come back again to the sports after twenty-three years with this son Tony. He owns Schumacher Electric Corporation and the total estimated net worth of this legendary American racer is $300M.

Interesting Facts

  1. NHRA Legend: Don Schumacher is a legend in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing scene.
  2. Team Owner: He owns Don Schumacher Racing, one of the most successful teams in drag racing history.
  3. Innovator: Schumacher is credited with many safety innovations in drag racing, including the enclosed canopy on Top Fuel dragsters.
  4. Racing Family: His son, Tony Schumacher, is also a successful drag racer.
  5. Business Acumen: Beyond racing, he has a successful business career, including in the manufacturing sector.

Lewis Hamilton

With a blend of unmatched skill and marketable charisma, Lewis Hamilton has dominated the modern era of Formula 1. His multiple world titles and lucrative endorsements have propelled him to financial heights that are as impressive as his racing records.

This young racing driver from the United Kingdom has not only made a big name in the sports but has also made a fortune of around $280 million according to 2020. The 35-year-old driver started in 2007 in Formula 1. He broke the record of Michael Schumacher’s 68 pole positions in 2017 and got his World Championship title in the second year of his career. He is one of the biggest names in racing sports who are currently active. He has the potential to make several records in F1 and he is considered as “the best ever” by many motorsport managers like Ron Dennis.

Interesting Facts

  1. F1 World Championships: Hamilton has won multiple F1 World Championships, competing closely with the record held by Michael Schumacher.
  2. Diversity Advocate: He is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
  3. Fashion and Music: Hamilton has interests in fashion and music and has collaborated with several high-profile artists and designers.
  4. Knighted: In 2020, Hamilton was knighted in the UK for his services to motorsport.
  5. Vegan Activist: He is a prominent vegan and environmental activist, promoting sustainable living.

Fernando Alonso

This two-time Formula 1 World Champion is not just known for his aggressive driving style but also for his hefty earnings, both from racing and various endorsements.

Alonso has been the winner of Grand Prix and grabbed Formula 1 World Championship twice in 2005 and followed the next year with Renault. The 39-year-old Spanish racing driver was the youngest driver in the F1 history to win World Championship. With Toyota, in 2019, Fernando grabbed the World Championship title at WEC. His successful career has earned him lots of money in his bank account along with three world championships in the sports. His net worth is considered to be nearly $239 million and he is set to return to Formula 1 in 2021.

Interesting Facts

  1. Youngest F1 Champion: Alonso became the then-youngest World Champion in F1 in 2005.
  2. Versatile Racer: He has competed in other events like the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar Rally.
  3. Oviedo Museum: His hometown of Oviedo, Spain, features a museum dedicated to his career.
  4. Cycling Enthusiast: Alonso is an avid cycling fan and has expressed interest in starting his own cycling team.
  5. Esports Involvement: He owns an esports racing team, FA Racing.

Jeff Gordon

A superstar in NASCAR, Jeff Gordon has combined his racing earnings with savvy business ventures and media roles, leading to a substantial net worth.  Gordon former automobile racing driver from the US, who became popular for his successful career in NASCAR. This 48-year-old racing driver is currently an announcer at NASCAR. He began motorsports when he was five and he won short track races three times even before he was 18. With the estimated fortune of around 200 million dollars, he is among the top ten richest racing drivers of the planet.

Interesting Facts

  1. NASCAR Success: Gordon is a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and has won the Daytona 500 three times.
  2. Television Personality: Post-retirement, he became a Fox NASCAR analyst.
  3. Philanthropy: He founded the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation to support pediatric cancer research.
  4. Business Ventures: Gordon has been involved in various business ventures, including car dealerships.
  5. Early Start: He began racing quarter midgets at the age of five and won an impressive number of races as a child.

Kimi Raikkonen

“The Iceman” has remained a fan favorite for years, and his success on the track has been mirrored in his financial achievements.

Kimi Raikkonen has made a fortune of around 150 million dollars in his racing career which began at the age of nine with karting and he jumped into Formula 1 in 2001 to grab the title of World Championship in 2007. He is the third most successful racer in the sports with 45 fastest laps – behind Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. He is the only Formula One racing driver from Finland to clutched most wins.

Interesting Facts

  1. 2007 F1 World Champion: Räikkönen won the Formula 1 World Championship with Ferrari in 2007.
  2. Nickname ‘The Iceman’: Known for his cool demeanor, he earned the nickname “The Iceman.”
  3. Rally Racing Stint: He competed in the World Rally Championship during a break from Formula 1.
  4. Straightforward Personality: Kimi is known for his straightforward and often humorous radio communications and interviews.
  5. Long Career: He has one of the longest careers in Formula 1, spanning over two decades.

Jenson Button

The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion’s career has been both successful and lucrative, with significant earnings from his racing days and endorsements.  Jenson Button had a long and successful career of 17 years with Formula 1 and won the World Championship title in 2009. After ending his career from F1, he started participating in the Super GT series and became champion in 2018. This 40-year old racing driver from Britain had started karting at the age of 8 and has made a fortune of nearly 150 million dollars from his career.

Interesting Facts

  1. 2009 F1 World Champion: Button won the Formula 1 World Championship with Brawn GP in 2009.
  2. Triathlon Competitor: He is an avid triathlete and has competed in several triathlons around the world.
  3. Author: Button has authored books about his life and career in racing.
  4. Television Work: Post-retirement, he has worked as a television pundit and commentator.
  5. Charity Work: He established The Jenson Button Trust, which focuses on children’s health and fitness.

Valentino Rossi

Rossi riding his Honda RC211V MotoGP bike
Rossi riding his Honda RC211V MotoGP bike

Though primarily a MotoGP legend, Rossi’s inclusion is a testament to his financial success across motorsports, thanks to his long-standing career and immense popularity.  We are ending the list by “The GOAT” Valentino Rossi. This Italian motorcycle is believed to the greatest in sports of all time. He has won the world championship title in Grand Prix nine times. This 41-year old racer has made a big balance of nearly $140 million from his racing career. He has worn 46 numbers throughout his career which was the trademark of his father Graziano Rossi.

Interesting Facts

  1. MotoGP Legend: Rossi is considered one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, with multiple MotoGP World Championships.
  2. The Doctor: His nickname, “The Doctor,” signifies his precision and skill on the track.
  3. Fan Favorite: Rossi is known for his charismatic personality and popularity among fans.
  4. Racing Family: He comes from a racing family; his father Graziano was also a motorcycle racer.
  5. VR46 Racing Team: Rossi owns the VR46 racing team, which competes in various motorcycle racing categories.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, a German racing driver, has made a significant mark in Formula 1 with multiple World Championships. Known for his time with Red Bull Racing and Ferrari, Vettel’s success has not only earned him a place among the greatest drivers in the sport but also substantial financial rewards. His endorsements, coupled with his salary from some of the top teams in Formula 1, have contributed to his wealth. Vettel is also known for his philanthropy and advocacy for environmental causes, showing a commitment to using his influence for positive change.

Interesting Facts

  1. Youngest World Champion: Vettel became the youngest-ever Formula 1 World Champion in 2010.
  2. Environmental Activist: He is known for his environmental activism, often speaking about sustainability in motorsports.
  3. Helmet Designs: Vettel is famous for frequently changing his helmet design.
  4. Impressive Start: He won his first F1 race with Toro Rosso, a feat that put him on the map as a talented driver.
  5. Clever and Witty: Vettel is known for his clever and often humorous remarks during interviews and press conferences.

Eddie Irvine

Post his Formula 1 career, where he raced for teams like Ferrari and Jaguar, Eddie Irvine transitioned into a successful businessman. His ventures, particularly in property development and investment, have significantly increased his wealth. Irvine’s savvy business acumen has allowed him to build a substantial fortune, showcasing a successful transition from sports to business.

Interesting Facts

  1. F1 Podium Finisher: Irvine has multiple podium finishes in Formula 1, including race wins.
  2. Ferrari Stint: His most successful years in F1 were with Ferrari, where he partnered with Michael Schumacher.
  3. Property Investor: Post-retirement, Irvine has been successful in property investment and development.
  4. Yacht Enthusiast: He is known for his love of yachting and has owned several luxury yachts.
  5. Playboy Image: During his racing career, Irvine was known for his playboy lifestyle.

Ayrton Senna

Senna driving the McLaren MP4/5 in 1989
Senna driving the McLaren MP4/5 in 1989

Although the legendary Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna’s life was tragically cut short, his impact on Formula 1 and his financial success were immense. Senna, a three-time World Champion, was one of the highest-paid drivers of his time. His legacy continues to influence the sport, and his status as an icon has ensured enduring commercial value, with his name and brand still associated with high-value endorsements and products.

Interesting Facts

  1. F1 Icon: Senna is regarded as one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, with three World Championships.
  2. Intense Rivalry: His rivalry with Alain Prost is legendary and marked one of the greatest eras in F1.
  3. Charitable Works: Senna was deeply committed to improving the lives of impoverished children in Brazil.
  4. Tragic Death: His death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix had a profound impact on the sport, leading to increased focus on safety.
  5. Senna Foundation: The Instituto Ayrton Senna, founded in his memory, continues to support educational initiatives in Brazil.

Nigel Mansell

Mansell competing in the 1994 Indianapolis 500
Mansell competing in the 1994 Indianapolis 500

Nigel Mansell, a former Formula 1 and IndyCar driver, achieved significant success in the 1980s and early 1990s. His aggressive driving style and determination earned him the 1992 Formula 1 World Championship. Post-retirement, Mansell’s wealth has been bolstered through various endorsements and public appearances, as well as his involvement in motorsport-related businesses.

Interesting Facts

  1. F1 and IndyCar Champion: Mansell is the only person to hold the F1 World Championship and the IndyCar title simultaneously.
  2. Bold Overtakes: He was known for his aggressive driving style and daring overtakes.
  3. Comeback King: Mansell made several comebacks in his career, always managing to stay competitive.
  4. Mustache Icon: His distinctive mustache made him one of the most recognizable figures in racing.
  5. Charity Golf: Post-retirement, Mansell is active in charity golf events.

David Coulthard

The Scottish former Formula 1 driver, David Coulthard, enjoyed a successful career, racing for teams like McLaren and Red Bull. His achievements on the track led to numerous endorsements and media roles post-retirement, including commentary and presenting, adding to his financial portfolio. Coulthard’s involvement in the business side of motorsports and his media presence have kept him financially successful and relevant in the racing world.

Interesting Facts

  1. Successful F1 Career: Coulthard won multiple Grand Prix races during his Formula 1 career.
  2. Media Career: He transitioned to a successful career as a commentator and analyst for Formula 1 broadcasts.
  3. Hotel Owner: Coulthard co-owns a hotel in Monaco, a popular destination for the F1 circuit.
  4. Flight Incident Survivor: He survived a serious plane crash in 2000, which took the lives of the two pilots.
  5. Charity Work: He is actively involved in charity, including his role as an ambassador for Wings for Life.

Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve racing in the 1995 PPG IndyCar World Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Villeneuve racing in the 1995 PPG IndyCar World Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

The Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve, known for winning the Formula 1 World Championship in 1997, has remained a prominent figure in motorsports. His success on the track led to several lucrative endorsements and media roles. Villeneuve has also pursued a career in music and has been involved in various racing-related business ventures, contributing to his wealth.

Interesting Facts

  1. 1997 F1 World Champion: Villeneuve won the Formula 1 World Championship with Williams.
  2. Musical Career: He has pursued a career in music, releasing an album.
  3. Diverse Racing Career: Villeneuve has competed in NASCAR, IndyCar, and even ventured into sports car racing.
  4. Famous Father: He is the son of Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve, another legendary figure in motorsports.
  5. Outspoken Personality: Villeneuve is known for his outspoken opinions on various aspects of motorsport.

Tony Stewart

Stewart celebrates his 2000 NAPA Autocare 500 win
Stewart celebrates his 2000 NAPA Autocare 500 win

American auto racing driver Tony Stewart, known for his success in NASCAR, has also made a mark as a team owner and entrepreneur. His career boasts multiple championships, making him one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history. His wealth comes not just from his racing achievements but also from his ownership of racing teams, racetracks, and other business ventures in the automotive and racing industry. Stewart’s diverse involvement in the world of motorsports has made him a prominent figure both on and off the track. He’s also a legendary midget car racer before his NASCAR success.

Interesting Facts

  1. Triple NASCAR Champion: Stewart has won three NASCAR Cup Series championships.
  2. Team Owner Success: He co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing, a successful NASCAR team.
  3. Versatile Racer: He has competed in various forms of racing, including IndyCar and dirt track racing.
  4. Hall of Fame: Stewart was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  5. Charity Work: He founded the Tony Stewart Foundation, which supports children, animals, and drivers injured in motorsports.

Final Thoughts

The lives of these drivers illustrate that while the path to riches in the racing world is paved with speed, skill, and sometimes danger, it also offers opportunities for massive financial success. Their stories are not just about wealth but also about the passion and dedication that drives them to excel in one of the world’s most thrilling sports.