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The 'Queen of the Nürburgring' died after battling cancer for more than three years.

By Nick Romano
March 17, 2021 at 08:44 AM EDT
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Sabine Schmitz
Credit: David M. Benett/WireImage

Sabine Schmitz, the former Top Gear host and racing driver known as "the Queen of the Nürburgring," died Tuesday after battling cancer for more than three years. She was 51.

Top Gear executive producer Clare Pizey penned a tribute to Schmitz in which she wrote, "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. The 'Queen of the Nürburgring,' Sabine radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got and was a force of nature for female drivers in the motoring world."

Schmitz became linked to Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife, a 14-mile circuit and considered the toughest in the world. The BBC estimates she drove around the track more than 20,000 times.

A statement from the Nürburgring notes they "lost its most famous female racing driver. Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine!"

"Rest in peace you wonderful, powerful, hilarious person," her Top Gear co-host Chris Harris said.

Formula 1 also paid tribute to Schmitz, calling her a "pioneer" and "champion."

"Sabine Schmitz was a unique, much-loved and cherished member of our sport's family, and a force of nature for inspiring a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts," a statement read. "Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."

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