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Sabine Schmitz grew up near the Nürburgring where her family runs a hotel, the Hotel am Tiergarten. She trained as a hotelier and sommelier while learning to drive.

She won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 1996 in a BMW M3 E36 with her teammates Johannes Scheid and Hans Widmann from the Scheid Motorsport team. She was the first woman to win a major 24-hour race. In 1997, she won the race again with teammates Johannes Scheid, Hans-Jürgen Tiemann and Peter Zakowski, again with a Scheid Motorsport BMW M3 E36. She also won the VLN in 1998. In subsequent VLN races, she won three and finished on the podium twice. At the Nürburgring 24 Hours she finished third in 2008, ninth in 2011, sixth in 2012, each time in a Porsche.

Until 2011, she was a driver for the Ring-Taxi, a taxi service offered by BMW that allows customers to tour the Nürburgring Nordschleife in BMW M5s driven by professional drivers. Working for RSR Nürburg, she was a great success. Nicknamed Queen of the Ring, in 2014 she estimated that she had completed a total of more than 30,000 laps of the circuit, with more than 1,000 laps completed each year.

In 2015, she competed in the World Touring Car Championship Race of Germany in a Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 for the Münnich Motorsport team. Invited for this one race at her favourite circuit, the Nürburgring, and driving a WTCC car very different from the Porsche 911 GT3-R she usually drives3, she finished tenth and thus became the first woman to score points in this championship.

She has made several appearances on the TV show Top Gear. In particular, in episode 7 of season 6, she took a lap of the Nordschleife in a Ford Transit and managed a ‘Bridge to Gantry’ time of 10:8 in an attempt to beat presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s time of 9:59 in a Jaguar S-Type diesel.

From September 2006, she presented the car show D Motor with Carsten van Ryssen and Tim Schrick on the German channel DMAX.

In March 2015, The Guardian published a satirical article calling for Sabine Schmitz to be the new presenter of Top Gear, after the contract with Jeremy Clarkson was not renewed5. In late December 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that she had been selected to present the new Top Gear. The BBC confirmed the rumour in February 2016 when it announced the list of new presenters for the show which included Sabine Schmitz.

She died on 16 March 2021 at the age of 51 from cancer.

Page automatically translated from French with DeepL®

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