Sabine Schmitz – the Queen of the Nürburgring – passed away last night, aged 51.
Schmitz was the only woman to have won the hallowed Nürburgring 24 Hour endurance and was an inspiration to everyone.
She was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and continued racing up until 2019.
Growing up near the feared 14-mile circuit, Schmitz started her racing career in the lower levels of categories before winning the 24-hour race in 1996 and 1997. She also won the VLN championship of endurance races at the Nurburgring in 1998.
She estimated that she had driven around the track more than 20,000 times.
In 2016, Schmitz joined the popular British car show Top Gear as a presenter.
“Sabine was a beloved member of the Top Gear family and presenting team since 2016, having first appeared on the show in 2004, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with her on the team is in shock at this news,” said Clare Pizey, Top Gear executive producer.
“Sabine radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got – and was a force of nature for women drivers in the motoring world.
“Like everyone else who knew her, we will truly miss her – Sabine really was one of a kind. Our thoughts are with her partner Klaus, who was always by her side and who we welcomed to Dunsfold many times, and her family in Germany.”
“The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver,” read a statement by the circuit. “Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine!”