Sabine Schmitz, racing driver and Top Gear presenter, has passed away at the age of 51 after a long illness.

Born into a local hotel and restaurant-owning family in the town of Nürburg, set within the Nürburgring Nordschleife racing circuit, Sabine Schmitz went on to enjoy a successful racing career, successes including overall wins at the Nürburgring 24-hour races in 1996 and 1997 in a BMW M3.

But it was the thrilling passenger rides Schmitz gave when driving one of the BMW M5 ‘ring taxis’ around the 13-mile track that really thrust her into the public limelight, not to mention her driving antics as co-presenter on German television show D Motor.

Brits will probably best remember Sabine Schmitz for her Top Gear appearances. She famously attempted to match Jeremy Clarkson’s sub-10-minute Jaguar S-Type diesel lap in a Transit van, then went on to beat Clarkson’s time by 47 seconds in the Jaguar. She later became one of the show’s new presenters in 2016 after Jeremy’s departure.

Sadly, Schmitz had been suffering from cancer since 2017, and had to undergo treatment again in 2020 before her sad passing in 2021. Our condolences go to her friends, family and many fans.