Many of you are already probably aware of the terrible news regarding the tragic death of German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, also known as “Queen of the Nürburgring,” who passed away at the age of 51 following a long battle with cancer. Her charismatic personality could light up a room, and the world got to see that charm on many occasions while she was featured on the BBC show Top Gear.
Originally from Germany, Sabine had raw talent as a racer, and quickly showed her skills on the race track before she even got involved with television. Eventually, her professional motorsports career evolved into her competing for both the BMW and Porsche racing teams. She spent so much time at the track that she eventually became one of the best and most famous female racing drivers in Germany.
Considering recent events, it’s only appropriate to look back on some of her racing accomplishments and appreciate she was able to do over the years. From racing to television, Sabine Schmitz undoubtedly left her impact on the world.
Sabine Schmitz’s Racing Career Highlights
Sabine initially got her passion for racing when she took the family car on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Both of her sisters also started racing, but Sabine was the only one to truly see some success in the sport. In both 1996 and 1997, she won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring driving a BMW M3, and in the following year, she took home a VLN endurance racing championship win. Close to a decade later, she switched to using a Porsche 997 for endurance racing.
One of the things that Sabine became most known for was being the fastest taxi driver on the race track. She was seen skillfully driving the BMW M5 ring taxi around the Nürburgring, and it drew lots of attention. Following this, she was essentially paid to bring people along in the taxi to show them the proper racing lines, and scare the absolute crap out of them. Sabine had also claimed that she had put down more than 20,000 laps at the track in her lifetime. It’s understandable that she had it completely mastered.
Her talent on the Nürburgring granted her success in many ways. She created her own company, Sabine Schmitz Motorsport, which offers advanced driver training and a ring taxi service for those passengers looking for a fun time. 2011 was the last year Sabine herself drove the ring taxi.
Sabine’s popularity also led to her foray into television. She became a motorsports guest commentator at first, then transitioned to co-hosting the German show D Motor. Following this, she was featured on her first British program, Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the Neighbours, where she took him for a ride around the race track. I think we all know where her television career led after this.
Sabine Schmitz on Top Gear
Remember that time that Jeremy Clarkson set a lap time on the Nürburgring in a Jaguar S-type? Well, Sabine was quick to call him out, saying, “I tell you something, I do that lap time in a van.” The Top Gear hosts took her up on her challenge. She definitely tried her best, but ended up coming in nine seconds longer than Clarkson’s time.
Regardless, it was still wildly impressive that she got that close in a cargo van. To prove even further that she knew what she was doing, she took the same model Jaguar S-type and put down a time that was 47 seconds faster than Clarskon. It was so fast that the camera crew couldn’t even keep up. They had to get Jaguar test driver Wolfgang Schubauer to drive an identical S-type just to get the shot.
She appeared numerous times on the original Top Gear motoring program, and it was a blessing anytime we saw her face on the screen. Additionally, BBC announced in 2016 that Sabine was picked to be a Top Gear presenter alongside a few others on the revamped show, and the rest is history.
Sabine’s bubbly personality was perfect for television, and luckily, her spirit was perfectly captured anytime she was in front of a camera. She will be truly missed, and I wholeheartedly can say that she made a positive impact on the world. Rest in peace, Sabine Schmitz.