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Sabine Schmitz in her Porsche racing overalls. She has been absent from the team at last year's Nürburgring Endurance Series when she revealed her illness

op Gear’s Sabine Schmitz, 51, dies after three-year cancer battle

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Top Gear‘s Sabine Schmitz has died aged 51 after a three-year battle with cancer.

The German dubbed the ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, revealed last July that she had been suffering from ‘an extremely persistent cancer’ since 2017.

Schmitz had become synonymous with the Nurburgring Nordschleife, the 14-mile circuit in Germany that is renowned as the toughest in the world.

She won the 24-hour touring car race at the track twice, in 1996 and 1997, driving a BMW M3.

She became known as the “Queen of the Nurburgring” and estimated she had driven around the track more than 20,000 times.

Schmitz later gained acclaim for an appearance on Top Gear in 2004 in which she drove a van around the track, and subsequently became a presenter on the show alongside Chris Evans in 2016.

Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz answers media questions during the launch of Top Gear at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey in 2016

Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz answers media questions during the launch of Top Gear at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey in 2016

This Sunday’s episode of Top Gear will be dedicated to Schmitz, with Clare Pizey, executive producer, saying: “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.

“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. 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.”

Top Gear presenter Chris Harris said Schmitz was a “wonderful, powerful, hilarious person” while the show’s former presenter Jeremy Clarkson paid tribute by tweeting she was “such a sunny person and so full of beans”.

Formula 1 said Schmitz was “a force of nature” who inspired “a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts”.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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