The automotive world lost an icon when Sabine Schmitz, the Queen of the Nürburgring, succumbed to her battle with cancer at age 51. Now, there’s a campaign to name a corner at the Nordschleife after the successful racer and famous personality.
The Change.org petition has garnered nearly 13,000 signatures and counting in just a day since its creation. Dale Lomas of the ‘Ring focused site Bridge to Gantry created the campaign and posted that as of the 10,000-signature mark the request was “officially on the radar at Nürburgring HQ.”
It’s still too soon to say which corner could get Schmitz’s name. Although, Lomas lists eight candidates in his blog post announcing the campaign. There are lots of turns at the ‘Ring without a title, though, so there are plenty of prospective choices.
If you want to understand Schmitz’s impact, then a post on Bridge to Gantry has a variety of stories from people who met her, in some cases personally and in others just passing them while lapping the ‘Ring. It’s a touching tribute.
Schmitz grew up in Nürburg, so the ‘Ring nearby for her entire life. Her family owned the Hotel am Tiergarten and its Pistenklause restaurant in the town.
In 1996, she became the first woman to take an overall win in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and followed it with another win in 1997. In 1998, she became the first woman to win the VLN Endurance Championship series title.
She became more famous outside the racing world in the 2000s when she became one of the drivers of the BMW Ring Taxi. People were able to pay to take a lap of the famous track with Schmitz behind the wheel, and videos soon popped up online highlighting her skill.
Her international fame increased even more when she made appearances on Top Gear, including coaching Jeremy Clarkson about how to set a fast lap in a Jaguar S-Type diesel. In 2016, she became one of the show’s hosts.