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Vale Sabine Schmitz

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Sabine Schmitz, former racing driver and Top Gear presenter, dies aged 51


German-born Sabine Schmitz won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 1996 and 1997. German-born Sabine Schmitz won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 1996 and 1997. Photograph: DPA/Alamy

PA Media
Wed 17 Mar 2021 22.02 AEDT

Sabine Schmitz, the only female winner of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, has died at the age of 51. The Top Gear presenter revealed last year that she had been dealing with a rare form of cancer since 2017.

The German race track released a statement paying tribute to the driver. “The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver. Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine!”

Adenau-born Schmitz’s first triumph at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring came in 1996 with Johannes Scheid and Hans Widmann in the BMW M3. She won again the following year with Scheid, Hans-Jürgen Tiemann and Peter Zakowski.

Schmitz, who was widely known as “Queen of the Nürburgring”, later impressed with her own team Frikadelli Racing, which she had founded with her husband, Klaus Abbelen.

She first joined Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC show Top Gear in 2004 and became part of the presenting team when Chris Evans revamped the programme in 2016. “Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans,” Clarkson tweeted.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz, a proper driving legend who’ll be sadly missed by many. The Ring has lost its Queen. RIP” wrote Clarkson’s former Top Gear co-host, Richard Hammond.

Formula One paid tribute to Schmitz on Twitter: “We are all deeply saddened to hear that Sabine Schmitz has passed away. An incredible talent and wonderful person who made us all smile. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

The FIA’s Women in Motorsport commission added: “Such sad news about Sabine Schmitz, Queen of the Nürburgring. Our sincere condolences to all her family and friends.”

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1 hour ago, TINGY said:

I've always wondered whether she would have made it in the V8 supercar series, she certainly had the skill, sad loss,

Sabine was a legend & I suspect would have made light work of the V8 supercar series. The only other female driver I can think of who would be close to Sabine is Michele Mouton.....hopefully the efforts to attract more female talent to racing is successful & the next Sabine is just around the corner. Her enthusiasm, humour & awesome skills will be missed !!

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Her vibrancy and fun will be the most lost ..it goes to show you and I believe beyond being a female , you just need to bring the right attitude and you can  magnetise whole a world into your outlook .....the lady had talent and great personality  and that shone through RIP


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6 hours ago, OZ930 said:

Just watched this last night and awoke today to the sad news.


I remember watching that when it came out, such a great ambassador for Motorsport.  14000 laps of the ring, crashed many times, what a legend!  RIP Sabine

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