For thousands of Nürburgring fans around the world, Sabine was much, much more than the stereotype-busting “Queen of the ‘Ring” that the BBC loved to portray.
She was the Queen of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, sure. But she was also BMW and BMW Motorsport back when “Sheer Driving Pleasure” had gravitas and actually meant something. She was bullshit-free, cold beers in a smokey PK after a hard day driving the Ring-Taxi sideways through Brünnchen. She was Eifel-Blitz at 2am on a rainy Sunday morning, she was Frikadelli Porsche carving through the pack after a pitlane start.
She was cowboy boots, quadbikes, helicopters and horses. She lived the life, walked the walk and talked the talk. She was a hero for a whole generation of close-to-middle-aged car guys, back before “woke” was even a thing.
And now she’s gone, but she’ll never, ever be forgotten.
RIP Sabine Schmitz – 1969 to 2021
Sabine lost her 3-year battle with cancer in the last 24-hours. I will link to an official statement as soon as one is available.
TRIBUTES TO FOLLOW:
Sabine Schmitz (14.5.1969 – 16.3.2021) passed away yesterday (Tuesday) after her brave fight against cancer. She was 51 years old. Klaus Abbelen and all relatives and friends are deeply saddened by the immeasurable loss. pic.twitter.com/G706HGxDTC
— Frikadelli Racing (@Frikadelli_R) March 17, 2021
#NLS – Very sad to hear that Sabine Schmitz (1969-2021) has passed away. The "Queen of Nordschleife" was a crowd favourite due to her open, humorous way. The two-time @24hNBR winner was an icon at the wheel of the #Frikadelli #Porsche. Our sympathy goes to her family and friends pic.twitter.com/ZHXbC1R6Wk
— Porsche Motorsport (@PorscheRaces) March 17, 2021
Rest in peace you wonderful, powerful, hilarious person. pic.twitter.com/nwXgBwZsbE
— chris harris (@harrismonkey) March 17, 2021
I’m very sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz, the only woman to have won the #Nürburgring24Hours, rightly known as ‘Queen of the Nürburgring’, & a star of @BBC_TopGear, who’s succumbed to cancer, aged just 51. #RIPSabineSchmitz pic.twitter.com/LHg5ndr8tO
— Matt Bishop (@TheBishF1) March 17, 2021
Rest in peace, Sabine. Inspirational, generous, fast lady. Taught me new lines, tolerated idiots in her pool. Love to all her family and friends… and there are a lot. pic.twitter.com/Hjpf5FDEr2
— James Cameron (@Tankslider) March 17, 2021
— Dale Lomas (@BTGDale) March 17, 2021
Aw, man, RIP Sabine. Faster, funnier and with way better banter than any of the fanboys like me who used to go out to the 'ring back in the day. And as much a symbol of place as the castle on the hill. Gutted. #RIPSabine https://t.co/QHXXSzpeHS @BTGDale pic.twitter.com/89L3yXgKb0
— Dan Trent (@trent_dan) March 17, 2021
So sad to hear Sabine Schmitz has lost her long battle with cancer. Full of life and a great talent behind the wheel, it was always a fun day filming with her. The Nurburgring will not be the same without her. RIP Sabine.
— Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv) March 17, 2021
Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) March 17, 2021
With great sadness we have received the news that Sabine Schmitz has passed away.
She will always be remembered within the BMW family as a great person, a Nürburgring legend, a pioneer for female race drivers and a 24h-race winner with BMW.
Our thoughts are with her family. pic.twitter.com/FWLbb3M8Ty
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) March 17, 2021