Race car driving is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Professional race drivers must train to develop high endurance levels and precision skills, among other requirements for this sport.
It is no wonder that car racing is one of the highest-paying sports in the world today. We also observe that some of the highest-paid race car drivers are among the highest-paid sports entertainers worldwide.
This article explores the ten highest-paid race car drivers of 2022, from the least to the highest. Ready, let’s dive in.
#10. Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin is at the rear of our list of the top 10 highest paid race car drivers. He ranks so with an annual income of $15 million.
This American professional race car driver currently represents Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Cup series. He has also acquired many wins and awards throughout his racing career.
He had his first big break in 2006 when he won the Rookie of the Year award in the 2006 Nextel Cup Series. Other wins include the Daytona 500(thrice), Sprint Unlimited(thrice), and the Coca-Cola 600, among others.
Related: Top 10 Highest paid players in EPL
#9. Kevin Harvick
Next up on the list is another American race car driver, Kevin Harvick. He is among the highest paid race car drivers in the world, earning about $15.5 million annually.
He has had numerous wins and awards throughout his racing career. These include Rookie of the Year in 2000 and the following year at NASCAR Series events. He also won the Best Driver in the 2015 ESPY Awards.
Currently, Kevin Harvick represents Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in the NASCAR Cup Series. Besides being an excellent race car driver, he is also a devoted philanthropist.
#8. Jeff Gordon
Here, we have American professional race car driver Jeff Gordon. With an annual salary of $21 million, he occupies 8th place among the highest paid race car drivers.
He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2018 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019. He is also a four-time Winston Cup Series champion, among other accolades.
Currently, he is the vice president for Hendricks Motorsports, an American-based auto racing organization.
#7. Jimmie Johnson
American professional racer Jimmie Johnson is ranked #7 on our list of highest paid race car drivers in 2022. He earns an annual salary of $22 million.
Among his several feats, he won the NASCAR Cup Series 7 times in his career. He is also a four-time Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR All-Star Race Champion.
Currently, he competes for Ally Cadillac Racing at the IMSA WS Championship. He also races for Chip Ganassi Racing alongside Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou.
#6. Max Verstappen
Next on our list of highest paid race car drivers is Max Verstappen. He earns an annual salary of $24 million, which will likely increase soon.
He bagged the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship title in Abu Dhabi, driving for Red Bull Racing with Lewis Hamilton as the first runner-up. He was also the winner of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen has a long, promising career ahead of him as he is just 24 years old. Currently, he is still racing for Red Bull Racing.
#5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Perhaps we can say racing is in the blood for this American race car driver. His father, and grandfather, among other relatives, were all NASCAR race drivers. He earns $25 million annually.
He won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship title five times in his career. He also bagged the Busch Series Championship title and Daytona 500 Winner title twice.
He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in early 2022. Currently, he races for JR Motorsports in NASCAR.
Image credit: mibro
#4. Kimi Raikkonen
Finnish race driver Kimi Raikkonen is ranked #4 on our list of highest paid race car drivers. He earns an annual salary of about $27 million.
He bagged the World Drivers’ Championship in 2007 while competing for Ferrari. He also has a total of 21 F1 Grand Prix wins. This makes him one of the F1 racers with the most career wins.
His last race saw him competing for Alfa Romeo in the 2021 F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
#3. Sebastian Vettel
Up next is German professional race car driver Sebastian Vettel. He earns an annual salary of $32 million, which puts him in third place among the highest-paid race car drivers.
He won the World Drivers’ Championship title for four consecutive years(from 2010 to 2013). Winning this title in 2010 made him the youngest World Champion in F1 racing, unsurpassed to date.
He is also among the top ten F1 racers with the most race wins, having 53 wins in total. Currently, he races for Aston Martin as the team leader in Formula One.
#2. Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso is second on our list of the highest paid race car drivers of 2022. This Spanish Formula One racer earns $33 million annually.
He won the World Drivers’ Championship title in 2005 and 2006 while driving for Renault. In 2019, he represented Wayne Taylor Racing and bagged the 24 hours of Daytona title. He also ranks as one of the F1 racers with the highest number of wins.
These are a few of the many achievements that glamorize his racing career. Currently, he races for Alpine in F1 alongside Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri.
#1. Sir Lewis Hamilton
Little wonder this British racing athlete tops the list of the highest paid race car drivers in 2022. He earns a whopping $40 million annually, among other sources that build his net worth.
His incredible career is rife with championships, victories, wins, and the breaking of previously set records. He has won the World Drivers’ Championship title in Formula One seven times.
Lewis has also set the record of having the most wins in Formula One(F1) racing, with 103 wins total. F1 is the highest class of motor racing recognized by the FIA.
Currently, he represents Mercedes in Formula One.
These are the top 10 highest paid race car drivers in the world today. They’ve undergone arduous training and raced multiple times to get to these positions.
The thrill they bring on the race track to spectators is hard to come by and well rewarded.