For Sabine Schmitz, going to the Nurburgering car racing track in West Germany was like going to school. Growing up near the track, one of the most famous in the world, she always loved speed and by her own account completed more than 20,000 laps of that circuit.
“I’ve never had to learn track,” he once said. “It’s in my blood.”
A popular German racing driver and formerly of Schomitz, known for his well-known comments on the BBC show “Top Gear” and for an enthusiastic personality who stood out in a male-dominated industry, the South on Tuesday – died in a hospital in Trier in the west. Germany. She was 51 years old. His half-brother, Beat Schmitz, said the cause was cancer.
A cheerful and enthusiastic driver, Schmitz was called the “Queen of the Nurburgring” and “the world’s fastest taxi driver” – for driving racing fans seeking thrills around the track at BMW. He won popular Nurburring 24 Hour Race In 1996 – became the first woman to do so – and then the following year. When she appeared on “Top Gear” in 2016, she became even more popular after appearing on the show several times.
She and her husband, Claus Abellan, founded the racing team Frackdeli Racing.
Sabine Schmitz was born on 14 May 1969 in Adnau, West Germany. The daughter of a wholesaler and a hotel manager in the village of Nurburg near the border with Belgium, she grew up less than a mile from the Nurburgring Complex, and although trained as a hotelier, she Wanted to be a racing driver. She was 13 years old, she said.
The main main track of the Nurburgering is 12.9 miles long NordshliffeIs known as the Green Hell for its 73 turns as it weaves through the jungle in the Eifel hills. In service since 1927, the track hosted a Formula 1 race, but was later very dangerous and redesigned.
The new Nordshliffe, which was modified when Schmitz was 2, became his playground. She was able to name 73 hearts, and she first completed it at age 17 with her mother’s car, before she had a driving license.
Regarding Sabine and family, Beat Schmitz said, “They put on racing tires, remove the license plates and drive it on the track.” “My mother used to drive the same car or take groceries for the barber.”
He said, “It’s like a child who is born next to the football stadium and is on the football team at 5.”
In the early 1990s, Schmitz joined the BMW team, after participating in an amateur race with his two sisters. She remains the only female driver to win a 24-hour race for Nurburgring, attracting more than 200 racing teams and thousands of fans every June. She finished third in the 2008 edition. Part of the event VLN Endurance Racing SeriesIn which Schmitz was a frequent contestant.
He became one of the racing complex’s main attractions as the driver of the BMW “ring taxi”, in which he paid customers on a high-speed lap around the track. He claimed to be “the fastest taxi driver in the world”.
“It’s really fun to scare people,” she said on “Top Gear” in 2010. “They like to be scared, so they pay me for it.”
Schmitz’s time on “Top Gear” brought the non-British touch to a show mostly run by men and aimed at them. She helps in the escape in which she will try to pass while driving other drivers A less powerful car than them.
One of her most popular moments on the show occurred in 2009, when she tried to complete a lap on the Nurburgering circuit in less than 10 minutes – A ford van. He did it in 10:08 minutes.
“Top Gear” host, Chris Harris, said, “I think she loved how much she could shock middle-aged men who thought they could drive a little.”
Schmitz left “Top Gear” last year, announcing that she had been under treatment for cancer since 2017.
In addition to driving a car and later flying a helicopter, he was passionate about animals, and his stepbrother, Beat, said he believed his love for animals kept him in his cancer fight.
In addition to her stepbrother, she is survived by her husband, her mother and two sisters.
Many people in the racing world paid tribute to Schmitz on Wednesday. German’s 20-year-old Sophia Florsch, who became the first woman to compete in Formula 3 last year, described Schmitz’s race as inspiring and inspiring.
on Twitter, Nürburgring said he had lost his most famous female racing driver, “Sabine Schmitz passed away after a long illness.”
Christopher F. Shuetze Contributed to reporting.