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Sabine Schmitz, ‘Top Gear’ Presenter and Race Car Driver, Dies at 51

Known as the ”Queen of the Nürburgring,“ Schmitz battled cancer since late 2017

Sabine Schmitz, “Top Gear” presenter and race car driver known as the “Queen of the Nürburgring,” has died. She was 51.

In 2020, Schmitz revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer in late 2017.

Schmitz, who first made a splash on the popular British driving series in 2004 when she drove a van around the Nürburgring track, became a presenter on the program a dozen years later. She was the woman for the task, having won Germany’s challenging 14-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife in both 1996 and 1997.

This Sunday’s episode of “Top Gear” will be dedicated to Schmitz, the BBC said on Wednesday.

“Sabine was a beloved member of the ‘Top Gear’ family and presenting team since 2016, having first appeared on the show in 2004, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with her on the team is in shock at this news,” executive producer Clare Pizey said. “Sabine radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got – and was a force of nature for women drivers in the motoring world.”

“Like everyone else who knew her, we will truly miss her – Sabine really was one of a kind,” Pizey continued. “Our thoughts are with her partner Klaus, who was always by her side and who we welcomed to Dunsfold many times, and her family in Germany.”

“The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver,” the Nürburgring said in a statement. “Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine!”

“Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz,” former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson wrote on Twitter. “Such a sunny person and so full of beans.”

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz, a proper driving legend who’ll be sadly missed by many,” Richard Hammond, Clarkson’s longtime co-host, said. “The Ring has lost its Queen. RIP”

“She gave me pointers on how to drive a Ferrari very fast and hunted me down in a banger race,” current “Top Gear” host Paddy McGuiness said on the same platform. “Brilliantly bonkers and an amazing human being! RIP the great Sabine Schmitz.”

“Rest in peace you wonderful, powerful, hilarious person,” his co-host Chris Harris wrote.

F1 remembered Schmitz as a “pioneer” and a “champion.” Find all their tweets below.