PAUL SWIFT is the charismatic owner and managing director of the precision driving company that bears his name. He is as much at ease rubbing shoulders with the glitterati of TV, such as the Top Gear team, as he is with family and friends at his North Yorkshire home.

Paul’s CV is at least impressive, at most hair-raising.

His driving career began at the age of eight appearing alongside his father Russell and his display team. Over the next 15 years, as his motoring experience developed, Paul progressed to evermore entertaining stunts which eventually lead to an invitation to perform at the British Motor Show in a live action display.

Paul was still in his early 20s but with a full diary. He says: "Something had to give, so I made the decision to step away from my career in mechanical engineering to concentrate on building a business using my driving skills and passion for motorsport."

The gamble paid off, and today he runs a successful business supported by a team of 14 drivers and mechanics and attracting sponsorship from companies across the UK.

The work is varied. Paul is often in front of the cameras filming for car manufacturers or as seen with James Corden for He recently completed an advert for Shell where he zigzagged down the Andes avoiding a gigantic metallic monster, and Top Gear Live viewers saw him performing a stunt beneath an archway of JCB diggers. He also appears at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and enjoys the Christmas Stages Rally at Croft.

Twice a year, Paul runs experience days at Darlington Arena and Silverstone where participants can sit behind the wheel of one of the performance cars and drive the set course knowing they have an expert beside them.

Alongside the individual driving experience days, he has now moved into the corporate world offering packages to local businesses. "This is already proving to be very popular," he says.

As a father of three children, Paul adds: "For their future, I am mindful of the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change and conscious that many will see the sport in general as contributing, in some part, to the problem.

"With the promotion of electric cars, I see this, not as a threat to my business, but as a new challenge and to that end I am already talking with executives from the major car companies."

Five minutes with... Paul Swift

Favourite North-East building and why?

Durham Cathedral. A world heritage site and one of the most beautiful buildings in the country.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid?

My first job was working for an engineering firm. Most of my family came from an engineering background and my great grandfather received an MBE for his services as foreman at Darlington Forge. I went straight into work after finishing my school exams and as I was one of the youngest in my year, I would have only been 15 at the time. I was on £50 a week. Needless to say, it did not last. See below.

What is the worst job you've had?

See above. The first was actually the worst. I wanted to go to college one day a week, but the boss refused so I left after only four days.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?

I am a terrible cook. I can just about cope if I have to make a meal for the kids so probably fish fingers, chips and peas. After that, spaghetti bolognese (tinned) is my limit so if it is my turn to cook, we generally eat out.

What would your superpower be?

Speaking many languages. I travel a lot as part of my job and I always try to make the effort to get along with people and learn the important words. My cousin speaks quite a few languages and I think it can open so many doors for a business.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party.

I would have to say my wife as without her, there would be no dinner party then it would be Billy Connolly, Brian Johnson and Tom Hanks. I would be the interpreter.

Most expensive thing you've bought – other than car or house?

A new workshop. It is just about finished and will be our new headquarters. Expensive but I view it as an investment in the business.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why?

I have a sad sense of humour. I have just started following @holdmyale which is basically You’ve Been Framed on twitter featuring lots of hilarious but unfortunate accidents.

Favourite book?

The Self-Preservation Society by Matthew Field. He wrote the book to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the film ‘The Italian Job’. We have been touring the UK performing a tribute show with him along with the producers and drivers. I'm a huge fan of the film so it is great to read about everything that went on behind the scenes

When did you last cry?

My granddad's funeral. He died last year aged 88. He was so supportive of what I do, and I miss him a lot.

What is your greatest achievement?

From the age of 16, I have competed in motorsport. I was fortunate enough to win seven British Titles and I represented England for ten years from the age of 19.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given?

Do not try to be a jack of all trades. Concentrate on doing what you do best and let the experts do the rest. I know where my strengths are and as a team, we are always busy, so our time is best spent doing what we specialise in.

Favourite animal and why?

I'm actually allergic to most animals but we do have a dog called Knox who is lovely and a Miniature American Shepherd.

Most famous person on your mobile phone?

Mike Brewer. He presents Wheeler Dealers on TV and he is a good friend.

What was the last band you saw live?

The Alex Fawcett Band who play and host at venues throughout the North-East. We often perform shows together. He uses a wireless electric guitar so I can drift around him in the Mustang while he is playing a riff. Great fun.

Describe your perfect night in.

A family get together. I love spending time at home with all the family.

In another life I would be...

A ski instructor. I go skiing with friends every winter and I always dream about what a great life it would be living up in the mountains.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

James Corden. I have doubled for him a couple of times so it would be nice to turn the tables or possibly the The Stig although he might struggle with the lines.

What irritates you?

Middle lane hoggers and litter louts.

What's your secret talent?

I can make a real good fart noise with my hands.