Sabine Schmitz: A tribute to the Queen of the ‘Ring

One of the main reasons why W Series exists is to celebrate female racing talent. In light of Sunday’s Top Gear special episode dedicated to Sabine Schmitz, we wanted to celebrate a talented woman who really was in a class of her own.

When Sabine tragically passed away on 16th March 2021 aged just 51, shockwaves were felt across the whole motorsport community. She was more than just a TV presenter or racing star, she was a hero to many. Sabine’s passion, fearlessness and magnetic personality was like no other.

When reflecting on Sabine’s life, many at W Series talked not only of her talent but the impact she had on the industry we all know and love.

We sat down with one W Series driver, Jessica Hawkins who appears on the Top Gear tribute episode as she shared her thoughts on Sabine.

It’s sad that she is only getting the full recognition she deserved now that she has passed away.

Whilst Sabine was getting more recognition as programmes like Top Gear realised how amazing she was and showcased her talents, it is only with her passing that many of her ground-breaking exploits have become more widely known outside of the motorsport world. Now she has rightly been recognised as a role model not just for racing drivers like me, but for women everywhere. 

Sabine was a very talented driver. She was the first woman to win Nürburgring 24 Hours which is really, really hard to do. She also made history in touring cars which lies very close to my heart. 

I loved all the crazy stuff she did too like being “the fastest taxi driver in the world”. This is something I relate to as the fastest lawn mower driver in the world! 

She was at the forefront of her profession when women were not really known in motorsport at all. It is only recently that it’s becoming more normal for women to race and I imagine it must have been quite tough when she was first forging a path. 

When she was starting out, there weren’t programmes like W Series and she just had to go and get on with it. Drivers like me stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like Sabine.

The spirit of the woman inspired me. She just cracked on and did what she needed to do. I loved her fearless, ‘ I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway’ attitude. 

Gender was irrelevant to her. She didn’t care that she was a woman, she was just doing what she loved doing and following her dream, as we all are, and she was obviously very good at it. 

At the end of the day though, you can’t be what you can’t see and we need more role models like Sabine, not only to inspire young girls to get in karts and go racing but to keep going when the going gets tough. 

Whether you watched Sabine win the 24 Hours Nürburgring or caught that now infamous Top Gear transit van episode, we know you’ll never forget her.

Rest in peace, Sabine.