37 (27=) Tom Wheatcroft £125m (£120m )
To say that Tom Wheatcroft is an enthusiastic collector of motor cars would be a bit of an understatement. His enthusiasm is almost an obsession, and the result is that he has assembled the world’s largest collection of Formula One racing cars.
The Donington Grand Prix Collection, housed at the Donington circuit that Tom Wheatcroft rescued from disuse, has been built up over more than three decades. It is worth well over£60 million and includes classics such as Jim Clark’s 1963 world championship-winning Lotus, a 1936 Alfa Romeo Bimotore and a flat-12 Ferrari 312B among Vanwalls, Williams, Jaguars, Maseratis and Coopers.
Tom Wheatcroft, now aged 85, was only 15 years old when he watched the great racing drivers of the day compete in the Donington Grand Prix races of the 1930s - a period dominated by the might of Mercedes Benz and Auto Union.
During the Second World War, the circuit was used as an army base, and after that fell into disrepair. Having built up his very successful property business after the war, he determined to restore Donington Park to its former glory.
In 1973, he bought the circuit, and rebuilt it, upgrading and re-routing it in the process. After spending around £2 million of his own money fighting legal battles to open Donington for racing again, he finally fulfilled his ambitions and re-opened the track in 1977.
In 1993 he achieved his dream - a Grand Prix at Donington. The European GP was badly rain affected and was a commercial failure, costing Tom Wheatcroft around a million pounds, but it will be remembered for one of the late Ayrton Senna’s greatest drives. In 2006, a new pits and paddock area was opened and last year the circuit hosted the British Motocross Grand Prix.
He has won a host of awards for his work in supporting motorsport, and in was the first winner of the Meguiar UK Car Enthusiast of the Year Award, an accolade based on a similar award in the United States.
He opened the Donington collection to the public in 1973 and it has around 150 exhibits - most of them unique pieces of motor racing history.
Having leased out Donington in 1997, the circuit, including the surrounding land, was sold last year to Donington Ventures Leisure for £30 million. Tom Wheatcroft was appointed president and his son Kevin brought in as a special adviser.