She was the Queen of Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. Now Sabine Schmitz passed away aged just 51, which was now confirmed by her Frikadelli team.
The Nürburgring is one of the most iconic circuits worldwide. One woman got well-known for her performance on the Nordschleife of the track in the Eifel: Sabine Schmitz. Schmitz raised in Nürburg and was the first-ever woman to win the 24 hours race on the Nordschleife in 1996, at the side of Johannes Scheid and Hans Widmann.
Behind the wheel of the legendary BMW M3, which got the nickname “Eifel lightning”, Schmitz repeated the success from 1996 just a year later. In 1998, she then became the first woman to become VLN-endurance racing champion, as a teammate of Scheid, Peter Zakowski and Hans-Jürgen Tiemann. Since the mid-2000s, Schmitz was racing in Porsche cars together with her later husband Klaus Abbelen. They founded the Frikadelli Racing team and Schmitz also participated in the WTCC championship as a guest starter in 2015 and 2016.
As Schmitz herself, also the Frikadelli team has a cult status among the Nordschleife fans around the globe. Next to her success in racing, the German woman also had some TV presence as a Co-host of the iconic Top Gear show from 2016 onwards. Furthermore, she drove the “ring-taxi” around the 20 kilometers long circuit in the Eifel region. The ring-Taxi allowed fans to enjoy a full lap around the Green Hell as a co-driver, driven by a professional driver like Schmitz. All together, Schmitz calculated that she drove over 30000 laps around the Nordschleife – making her an even bigger legend of the circuit.
However, she died on March 16th after a long fight against cancer. Schmitz suffered from a rare Vulvar cancer which was diagnosed in 2017. She underwent several therapies and surgeries, but cancer kept coming back. Still, the ambitious German never gave up and even returned to racing in 2019, showing that she is combative against the illness and willing to follow her passion again.
In an interview back then she said about cancer, that “he’s chasing me – as soon as he’s gone, he’s back. I’m trying to find a solution now. But it is difficult.” She kept her humor and added, that the cancer is “Eifeler Unkraut”. Following the cancer illness, she had to again quit racing in 2020, expressing, that she hopes for positive therapy in the future. Sadly this hope stayed a hope and the motorsport world lost Sabine Schmitz yesterday. Sabine Schmitz was the Queen of the Nordschleife, a happy personality, a fighter woman, and always connected to humor and her home Nürburg and the iconic Nordschleife.
May she drive 30000 more laps at the Nordschleife in heaven.
Rest In Peace, Sabine Schmitz.