Sabine Schmitz: The Eternal Queen of the Ring

The German driver, who died last March at the age of 51, felt totally free tracing the 73 corners of the fearsome Nürburgring circuit.

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In late spring 1927 it opened Nurburgring, one of the most emblematic circuits in the world. Loved and respected in equal measure, the Green Hell, as the pilot called Jackie stewart to your section Nordschleife (north), is a place of pilgrimage for fans of the motor world.

In its almost XNUMX-year history, many people have enjoyed this asphalt roller coaster located in the Eifel region of Germany. It is the case of Sabine Schmitz, that was born just ten kilometers from the route, in the town of Adenau.

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Sabine with her mother Uschi Schmitz.

Both she and her family had a great connection with that area, and not only because they were from there, but because they ran a business located very close to the circuit, the hotel am Tiergarten.

Racing personalities of all kinds have been housed in its rooms for decades and, as Sabine's mother recalls, Uschi schmitz, "It was quite common for pilots to break the lamps in the rooms when uncorking bottles of champagne celebrating their victories."

On the first floor of this hotel is the Italian restaurant Pistenklause, another great mecca of motorsports that, in addition to being known for its excellent grilled meat, is something like a museum full of photographs, signatures and memorabilia of drivers from all eras. A must for speed buffs who flock to and around the Nürburgring.

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Sabine Schmitz with her husband Klaus Abbelen, with whom she raced the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring several times.

Sabine was called to run the family business, but she used to say: "Peeling potatoes was not my thing, what I really liked was the speed." It was clear that this young German was going for action. Her mother quickly realized that she felt a special connection to the circuit.

Sabine made her first lap of the Nürburgring on a bicycle. Shortly after he did it - secretly - with his mother's car and, later, with his own. His father was his best accomplice at this early time, since he helped him pay for his whim by paying him for the wheels he spent trying to stop the clock faster and faster. He liked that so much and took it so seriously that he soon began to compete and perform various tasks on the circuit.

Sabine schmitz
The pilot also enjoyed the animals.

Throughout his life he completed nothing less than 30.000 laps. And this is saying a lot, because the northern section of the Nürburgring has nothing to do with a conventional circuit. Its length is exceptionally long (20,8 kilometers), so Sabine had time to cover more than 600.000 kilometers.

Very few or perhaps none of the drivers knew the secrets of the 73 corners of this historic track better than she did. Schmitz often came in for a spin as the driver of the Ring Taxi, with which he offered copilot experiences that would leave anyone's jaw dropped. But he also went to the circuit to create the content that would later be broadcast on the motor television shows in which he participated as a prominent star. And, of course, to compete. The pilot participated in dozens of races and achieved, among others, two victories in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.

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He was also part of the famous Top Gear show.

Remembered for her battles on the track, in recent years aboard the Porsche 911 GT3 R. of the team Frikadelli, the truth is that Sabine had concerns beyond the wheels and gasoline. A confessed lover of animals, she enjoyed them on her ranch near the town of Nürburg. She also flew helicopters and even became a professional sommelier. Without a doubt, she was a very complete woman who, in addition, radiated personality and positivism. He always kept his feet on the ground, even as he became a world-famous face after his stint on the British show. Top Gear.

He didn't turn down an autograph request or pout his fans. Rather the complete opposite. That was his greatness. And also the fact that it did not matter if he entered the circuit with a 911 GT3 or with a van: his ability to enjoy driving and, above all, to transmit it with passion, were the keys to capturing the public's attention.

In the end, neither the speed nor the ferocity of the Green Hell made a dent in his career or his own life. Whims of fate, it was a long illness that took Sabine the March 16 2021 when he still had many curves to trace to the Queen of the Ring.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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