Car Culture & Entertainment

Sabine Schmitz, Race Car Driver, TV Personality & “Queen of the Nürburgring” Passes Away at Age 51


After a long battle with cancer, professional driver, automotive enthusiast, and co-host of the Top Gear TV show, Sabine Schmitz passed away at age 51.

Famous for both her impressive driving skills and engaging personality, Sabine Schmitz was an incredible ambassador for motorsports and the automotive hobby.

Schmitz grew up near the legendary German Nürburgring race track, a circuit that she would eventually drive thousands of times. Among her numerous motorsports accomplishments, Schmitz was the first (and currently only) woman to win the famous Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race—a feat she accomplished twice, in 1996 and 1997.

Here, Schmitz is closing the gap behind a Lada Vesta driven by Frenchman Hugo Valente at Nürburgring in 2016. (Image/Commons.Wikimedia)

She also served as a “Nürburgring Taxi” driver, in which Schmitz drove passengers around on laps of the famous circuit.

Her buoyant personality and deep automotive knowledge made her a popular interview subject and a recurring guest on TV shows, most notably D Motor in Germany and BBC’s Top Gear—both programs that she would later go on to co-host.

Schmitz revealed a years-long struggle with cancer to fans via social media last summer, and passed away less than a year later, March 16, 2021, at age 51.

Several years ago, BMW made a short video biography on Schmitz, it’s fantastic and seems fitting that we share it here.

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One Comment

  1. Richard Price says:

    My condolences to the family of Sabine loved watching her drive she always made it like a causal drive on a track that demanded full attention or you suffered severely if you didnt

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