Who was Sabine Schmitz: Legendary German motorsports driver Sabine Schmitz passed away Tuesday at the age of 51. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and had since been engaged in a tough battle with the disease. Named among the fastest car racers in the world, Schmitz was a prominent sportswoman and figure of inspiration for many women desirous of joining motorsports.
Aside from her sporting achievements, Schmitz was notable for her role as presenter on BBC’s Top Gear show.
The impact of her loss is being felt across the sporting world, with tributes pouring in from industry top guns. Calling her “a trailblazer of the motorsport community,” international auto racers Formula 1 paid tributes to Schmitz, saying she was “a force of nature for inspiring a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts.”
Sophia Floersch, first F3 racer, also tweeted her condolences, writing, “Seeing her races was inspirational and motivating. My deepest condolences to the family. RIP Sabine.”
Schmitz is survived by her husband, race car champion Klaus Abbelen.
Who Was Sabine Schmitz? All You Need To Know
- She was most popularly known as the Queen of Nürburgring, after her pioneering win at the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 1996, the first and only woman to have done so. She is noted for having taken over 30,000 laps of the Nürburgring ‘ring taxi.’
- Nürburgring, a German racetrack identified as one of Schmitz’s prime domains, paid their tributes upon her death, saying they lost their “most famous female racing 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! pic.twitter.com/MFKNNFOSDU
— Nürburgring (@nuerburgring) March 17, 2021
- In 1998, she broke another record by becoming the first woman to win the VLN Endurance Championship in Germany.
- She held sporting associations with Porsche and BMW.
- In 2004, she made a memorable appearance on BBC’s Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson. Her fame in the United Kingdom skyrocketed post this.
- By 2016, she was presenting Top Gear as the lead, succeeding Clarkson. She hosted till 2020.
- Last year, Clarkson, who had been absent from public view and the sporting world for a while, revealed through a Facebook post that she was battling cancer. “Since the end of 2017, I have been fighting an extremely persistent cancer, which has not been able to deal with the means to date. It got a little better – but now he’s come back full force,” she wrote.