News broke this morning that racing driver, Nurburgring ‘Race Taxi’ pilot, TV presenter and hotelier Sabine Schmitz had lost her long fight against cancer. She was just 51 years old.
Sabine was a Nurburgring institution, and through both her parallel racing and broadcasting lives brought huge attention to the culture and following of racing on the ‘Green Hell’.
Long before she was ‘discovered’ by BBC’s Top Gear programme she was a racing success – winning the Nurburgring 24 Hours twice overall (in 1996 and 1997) alongside Johannes Scheid (then racing under her first married name of Sabine Reck).
Her later racing years were spent with the family-owned Frikadelli Racing team where she finished a very impressive third overall at the N24 in 2008, behind only the full-factory backed Manthey Porsches.
Whilst Sabine was already well known to a German TV audience, her ‘reach’ was expanded massively when she was featured in a number of pieces for BBC’s Top Gear programme, later becoming a regular presenter for the show.
Alongside that she was a down-to-earth key part of the family hotel business, the DSC crew astonished to be shown to their rooms there, after arriving hopelessly late, by the instantly recognisable and still smiling ‘Ring racing icon!
Through all of it though she was still a focused ‘Ring Racer, and she’ll be mourned by that whole community.
DSC sends our profound condolences to her partner Klaus Abbelen, all at Frikadelli Racing and to all of Sabine’s family and countless friends.