Former British Touring Car Championship driver turned ITV4 commentator, Paul O’Neill, found his passion for motor sport at a young age, enthralled by the racing career of his idol Nigel Mansell, and fuelled by the encouragement and support of his family.
Paul learned his craft at the prestigious Jim Russell Racing School, and in a 15-year career spanning the MGF Cup, BTCC and British GTs, achieved notable success, including a famous first BTCC win at his home circuit of Oulton Park, in 2002.
The subsequent season – which included a second win at Snetterton – was bittersweet, as Paul was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and was forced to rebuild his career over the coming years.
Never afraid of the hard graft, Paul did just that, continuing to part fund his racing with a job in the product assembly team at his local Ikea furniture store in Widnes, a town where Paul continues to live today.
His racecraft, aptitude and that ability to work in a team is still put to good use, both as a talented and experienced racing instructor, and as a training facilitator for some of the world’s leading motoring manufacturers.
Part of a talented family – his parents are both musicians and his sister being Melanie C of Spice Girls fame – Paul’s engaging personality has seen him forge his own fanbase, having successfully made the transition from circuit to screen.
Now part of a dynamic presentation trio alongside Steve Rider and Tim Harvey, Paul currently spearheads the delivery of the channel’s BTCC social media strategy on race weekends.
Aside from ‘tin tops’, Paul has appeared on the infamous BBC motoring series Top Gear– racing a VW Beetle– whilst he also appeared as a judge and TV presenter on ITV’s GT Academy and as an evaluator on Channel 5’s Classic Car Rescue.
A consummate pro, Paul’s ability to understand and interpret his audience has since seen him partner with numerous high profile brands and companies, who actively engage him to deliver insightful content designed to promote their products and services.
Not everything is about four-wheeled fun however, with Paul taking on the occasional cycling challenge, regular five-a-side run-outs with his mates, and he even has a Great North Run under his belt which he completed in aid of the Sporting Memories charity.
“It is an honour and a great privilege to be asked to become a Brand Ambassador for the BMMC. I see first hand through ITV4’s great coverage of the BTCC and its support races how hard the girls and boys of the British Motorsports Marshal Club work. Like the race drivers and teams who take the spotlight at the events, these people use their passion and sacrifice their weekends so us racers can race. I still compete part time and to see the smiles on a Marshals post when the chequered flag drops at the end of a race as you wave back is something I never want to see disappear. Let’s go and show the UK what we are about and enthuse members old and new!”