NÜRBURG, Germany — Previous racing driver Sabine Schmitz, the ‘Queen of the Nürburgring’ who was also a presenter of the well-liked BBC “Leading Equipment” television system, has died at age fifty one.

Schmitz received the 24 Hours of Nürburgring touring vehicle race with BMW in 1996 and 1997. She was the 1st and only feminine driver at any time to earn there.

Schmitz grew up near the Nürburgring, a fearsome track which winds via the hills of western Germany. Its thirteen-mile Nordschleife configuration is regarded as one particular of the most demanding and harmful tracks in the planet.

The German circuit announced on Wednesday that it experienced “shed its most famous feminine racing driver.”

“Sabine Schmitz passed absent much way too early after a very long illness. We will skip her and her cheerful mother nature. Relaxation in peace, Sabine,” it said on Twitter.

 She exposed very last yr that she was diagnosed with most cancers in 2017. She continued racing until finally 2019.

Also known as ‘the world’s fastest taxi driver’ for the passenger rides she gave all over the 20.8km Nordschleife — the north loop of the old “Environmentally friendly Hell” circuit — Schmitz approximated she experienced lapped it additional than 20,000 periods.

Schmitz moved via lessen-degree racing types in advance of profitable the 24-hour race in 1996 and 1997 as component of a workforce driving a BMW M3. She also received the VLN championship of endurance races at the Nürburgring in 1998.

In 2004, she drove a Ford diesel van all over the track for a “Leading Equipment” episode, lapping in just over ten minutes — only nine seconds slower than fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s most effective effort in a Jaguar S-type.

“Horrible news about Sabine Schmitz. These a sunny person and so entire of beans,” Clarkson said on Twitter.

She before long grew to become a common guest star and enthusiast most loved on “Leading Equipment,” and from 2016 on was component of the show’s common workforce. 

The BBC said the upcoming episode of the very long-operating demonstrate will be devoted to Schmitz.

“Sabine radiated positivity, normally wore her cheeky smile no make any difference how really hard points acquired — and was a drive of mother nature for women drivers in the motoring planet,” government producer Clare Pizey explained to the BBC.

Schmitz also worked on a demonstrate on German Tv set and ran a tourist ranch near the Nürburgring.

Information from Reuters was bundled in this report.