AUSTRALIAN MOTORSPORT’S RICH LISTERS

From left: Betty Klimenko, The Bend Motorsport Park and Neville Crichton

Each year the Financial Review Rich List ranks the top 200 wealthiest individuals and families in Australia.

The term rich is not used lightly here. You needed to be worth $629 million just to make the final spot on the recently released 2022 list!

It should be of no surprise that none of the 200 made their fortune in motorsport. Several, however, have current or past connections to the sport in various guises.

Here’s the who, what and how much of Australia’s richest motorsport identities, based on the Financial Review Rich List.

Lindsay Fox
Rank: 26th
Wealth: $4.20b

Transport and property magnate Fox’s Linfox empire owns two prized Australian motorsport assets; the revered Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and an original Gibson Motorsport Winfield Nissan GT-R.

The seaside Victorian venue was purchased by Linfox in 2004 while the GT-R has enjoyed a long-time home in the publicly accessible Fox Collection Classic Car Museum in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit pictured in 2008. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall

Tony Perich (and family)
Rank: 38th
Wealth: $2.77b

The Perich family fortune has been amassed in agriculture and property, the latter of which includes Oran Park Town in Western Sydney on the site of the former racetrack.

Perich purchased Oran Park Raceway in the late 1960s, just a few years after it opened. It was one of Australia’s most-loved circuits until it was closed in 2010 for residential development.

Perich, centre, with Dick Johnson, Bev Brock, Lady Margaret Brabham and Allan Moffat at Oran Park Town in 2017. Pic: Supplied

Betty Klimenko (with Monica Saunders-Weinberg & family)
Rank: 39th
Wealth: $2.73b

The daughters of the late Westfield co-founder John Saunders are the main shareholders of an enormous real estate and investment empire known as the Terrace Tower Group.

Klimenko is also the owner of Erebus Motorsport, which joined the Supercars Championship in 2013 with customer Mercedes-AMG equipment before switching to Holden in 2016 and winning Bathurst a year later.

Klimenko and Lee Holdsworth celebrate victory at Winton in 2014. Pic: Supplied

Paul Little
Rank: 64th
Wealth: $1.82b

Little amassed much of his wealth from logistics firm Toll Holdings, having led a management buyout of the company in 1985 and served as its managing director for 26 years.

He’s been involved in motorsport as a driver (in Porsche Cup), team owner (Paul Little Racing fielded Anthony Tratt in Supercars from 1998-2005) and sponsor (most notably of the HSVDT and HRT from 2006-2013).

Anthony Tratt drives the Paul Little Racing Ford in 1998. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall

Khalil Shahin (& family)
Rank: 69th
Wealth: $1.77b

Brothers Khalil, Sam and Yasser Shahin run the Peregrine Corporation founded by their late father, Fred. Its operations include over 160 On The Run (OTR) petrol stations.

Sam and Yasser are both keen racers, mainly in Porsche and GT competition. Peregrine also built and runs The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend, SA, which opened in 2018 and hosts Supercars each year.

The Bend Motorsport Park opened in 2018. Pic: Supplied

Tony Walls
Rank: 117th
Wealth: $1.21b

Walls is a tech entrepreneur whose wealth grew by almost 44% last year, according to the AFR. His Objective Corp software group services governments around the world.

Motorsport fans will recognise Objective from its sponsorship of Walls’ exploits in Porsche and GT racing over much of the last decade. His son Jackson also carries the colours, now in his second season of Carrera Cup.

Tony Walls’ Objective McLaren competing in the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Justin Hemmes (and family)
Rank: 123rd
Wealth: $1.12b

High-profile Sydney-based entrepreneur Hemmes sits atop an ever-expanding hospitality empire, having built on the success of his parents John and Merivale.

Hemmes’ passion for cars included a stint in the GT Performance Car Championship in the early 2000s, winning the 2004 title aboard a Subaru WRX – despite a major crash in qualifying at the Mallala season finale.

Hemmes at Wakefield Park in 2004. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Denis Wagner (and family)
Rank: 130th
Wealth: $1.03b

The Wagner fortune is the result of success in construction and mining services. The name is perhaps best known for building Wellcamp Airport, near Toowoomba, and a nearby 1000-bed quarantine facility.

Plans have been announced for construction of a complete motor racing facility at Wellcamp, whose airport this week hosted a two-day Supercars Gen3 aerodynamic test.

The opening of Wellcamp Airport in 2014 included Will Power racing a Supercar against a plane. Pic: Supercars

Neville Crichton
Rank: 167th
Wealth: $798m

Kiwi Crichton returned to the Rich List in 2022 as sales of the cars imported by his Ateco Automotive – which distributes Renault, LDV and Maserati in Australia – grew due to the pandemic.

Race fans will know Crichton from his days behind the wheel, which included five Bathurst 1000 starts from 1985, spread across JPS Team BMW, the Volvo Dealer Team, Dick Johnson Racing and B&H Racing.

Crichton, pictured with George Fury at Bathurst in 1985. Pic: an1images.com / Dale Rodgers
Stefan joined V8 Sleuth in 2020 as Head of Content – Publications. A multi-award-winning journalist, he’s worked in the sport for more than a decade, including stints as editor of Supercars.com and Speedcafe.com.