Those responsible for the Nürburgring named a corner after the late Sabine Schmitz, the racing driver known as the “Ring Queen” who died of cancer at the beginning of the year at the age of 51.
The Sabine Schmitz curve is the first corner of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. It will be inaugurated during an upcoming 6-hour long-distance race, which is scheduled for September 11, according to a press release from the Deutsche Bahn.
Schmitz grew up in Nürburg, just a few meters from the corner that bears her name today. Her family owned a hotel and a restaurant, and it became apparent early on that after training as a hotel manager and sommelier, she would continue the family business.
Sabine Schmitz at the 1997 Nürburgring 24 Hours
However, she soon got into racing and quickly became a wrestling expert. In 1996 and 1997 (under her original name Sabine Reck) she won the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Johannes Scheid in a BMW M3. She remains the only woman to win this race.
This success earned Schmitz the nickname “Ring Queen”, which she built on by giving rides on the racetrack, best known with BMW. She also gained worldwide attention for her appearance in “Top Gear”, best known in 2004, when she drove a van over the Nordschleife to undercut former host Jeremy Clarkson’s time in a diesel Jaguar S-Type. It missed the target by just a few seconds.
“Sabine Schmitz was the ambassador for the Nürburgring. Your name was mentioned in the same breath around the world as our racetrack, ”said Nürburgring Managing Director Mirco Markfort in a press release. “It still stands for what defines the Nürburgring: the close ties to the region, the closeness to the fans and the passionate commitment.”
Now the ‘Ring Queen’ has a due honor.