Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz dies, aged 51

Sam Warner
·3-min read
Photo credit: Stuart C. Wilson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stuart C. Wilson - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Former Top Gear presenter and motor racing driver Sabine Schmitz has passed away aged 51.

The German racing legend, who was known as the 'Queen of the Nürburgring' after becoming synonymous with the circuit, had previously revealed in 2017 that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

After a famous appearance on Top Gear in 2004, Sabine presented the show upon its 2016 relaunch alongside Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

She was also well known for being the only woman to win the Nürburgring 24 Hours, winning in 1996 and 1997.

Since the news was announced, it has been confirmed that Sunday's episode of Top Gear will be dedicated to the late star.

Current Top Gear co-presenter Chris Harris is among those who have paid tribute to Sabine, the star tweeting: "Rest in peace you wonderful, powerful, hilarious person."

He elaborated in an online piece: "She was a bundle of energy, one of those people whose resting facial expression was a huge grin, and she was so much fun to be around and to work alongside.

"She had been battling cancer for some time, but I suppose we just assumed that it being Sabine – unstoppable Sabine – she would win that one as well.

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"The Top Gear family will miss her terribly, as will her army of fans. Sending our love and thoughts to Klaus, her family, close friends and the Frikadelli Racing team she was so proud of."

Fellow presenter Paddy McGuinness said: "She gave me pointers on how to drive a Ferrari very fast and hunted me down in a banger race. Brilliantly bonkers and an amazing human being! RIP the great Sabine Schmitz," while co-star Andrew Flintoff retweeted Harris's tribute with a broken heart.

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Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson tweeted: "Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans."

Richard Hammond said: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz, a proper driving legend who'll be sadly missed by many. The Ring has lost its Queen. RIP," while James May added: "I never thought car makers should be at the 'Ring, but I always thought Sabine Schmitz should, and would, be. Rotten news. #RIP".

Meanwhile, the official Formula 1 Twitter account also shared a tribute, writing: "Pioneer, champion, Queen of the Nürburgring. Sabine Schmitz was a unique, much-loved and cherished member of our sport's family, and a force of nature for inspiring a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time".

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