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 in 1998 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.


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.



Paul attended the prestigious Jim Russell Racing School in 1998 before starting his competitive career in the MGF cup, in 1999 and 2000.

In 2001 he took the step up to the production class of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), securing three class podiums and two class pole positions on his way to an eighth place finish overall.

PON 3.jpg

Signed by Team Egg Sport to drive their semi-works Touring Class Vauxhall Astra Coupe for 2002, Paul finished eighth overall in the championship, but not before he secured an emotional first BTCC victory at his home circuit of Oulton Park.

Recalling the event;

"I got by going down toward Island Hairpin. It was really hot in the car and I had the windows down a couple of inches to try to keep cool. Even over a 7,500 RPM downshift I could hear the crowd going mad, cheering me on. It was just unbelievable."


Even better was to come in 2003, as having been signed by the factory Vauxhall team - VX Racing - to drive alongside Yvann Muller and James Thompson, Paul would go on to secure seven podium finishes, including a second race win at Snetterton, taking him to a fourth-place finish in the Championship that season.

A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in 2004 put pay to a competitive drive throughout 2004 and 2005, but in 2006 Paul returned to compete in the final two rounds of the BTCC for Tech-Speed, achieving an impressive three top-tens in the six remaining races.

Paul’s next full season in BTCC would come in 2009 - at the wheel of Tech-Speed’s Honda Integra Type-R - where a stunning mid-season run of 14 top ten finishes in 15 races saw him ultimately end the season in 12th overall.


Staying with Tech-Speed and the Honda Integra Type-R for 2010, Paul picked up where he left off, only finishing outside the top ten twice all season en route to ninth overall in the Championship that season.

The following year would be Paul’s last full season in BTCC, still with Tech-Speed but this time behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Cruze. Fifteen top ten results, including a third and two second place finishes, would see Paul finish the Championship in 10th overall.




Paul is partnered with BMW UK as a Friend of the Brand, and engages with customers and staff alike, via the BMW Driving Experience programme, as well as through after-dinner and motivational speaking events.


The Sporting Memories Foundation is a charity supporting older people across the UK living with dementia, depression and loneliness by engaging them in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport. By sharing memories of sporting moments and tapping into a passion for sport they help people to connect with others and with their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away.

A long time supporter and ambassador for Sporting Memories, Paul became a Patron of Sporting Memories on World Alzheimer’s Day 2018.


It was 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!

Paul and mum.jpg

From care and support to prevention, campaigning, fundraising and research, Diabetes UK is the country’s leading charity focused on tackling the fastest-growing health threat in the UK.

300,000 supporters, 5,000 volunteers and 6,000 healthcare professionals are working together to face the challenge of an illness affecting more people than dementia and cancer combined.

Paul provides personal insight into the illness having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2002, just at the height of his racing career.