Queen of Nurburgring, Sabine Schmitz dies at 51; Motorsport community pays tribute
German racing sensation Sabine Schmitz, popularly known as ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, passed away at 51
German racing sensation Sabine Schmitz, popularly known as ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, passed away at 51. The former Top Gear host had a long battle with cancer before taking the last breath on Tuesday. She became the first woman to clinch the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 1996, taking two victories in the iconic sportscar race before enjoying a long career linked to the circuit, as well as becoming well-known face for her features on BBC programme Top Gear.
In a statement issued by Frikadelli Racing - the team she launched along with her husband Klaus Abbelen announced that Schmitz had lost her battle against cancer and passed away at the age of 51. “Sabine Schmitz (14.5.1969 – 16.3.2021) passed away yesterday (Tuesday) after her brave fight against cancer. She was 51 years old. Klaus Abbelen and all relatives and friends are deeply saddened by the immeasurable loss,” the team wrote on social media.
From a young age, Schmitz was drawn to motorsports became the only woman to ace the 24-hours of the Nürburgring endurance race in 1996. She piloted her BMW M3 to victory with teammates Johannes Scheid and Hans Widmann.
Four years back, ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’ revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer and despite determination to make a return to racing in 2020, she said it had returned in full force and was proving extremely persistent.
Schmitz also became the 'world’s fastest taxi driver' by driving passengers around the track in a BMW M5. Her Top Gear stint started in 2004 alongside Jeremy Clarkson and then became a regular face on the popular TV show on BBC.
Following Clarkson's exit, Schmitz joined the refurbished hosting line-up and engaged a frequent role during the BBC's period of various presenters.
Tributes are pouring in around the motorsport community at large for Nurburgring Queen.https://twitter.com/F1/status/1372138547914870785