Professional motor racing #driver for #BMW and #Porsche
Sabine Schmitz is a German professional motor racing driver for BMW and Porsche, also known for driving the BMW "ring taxi" around the Nürburgring race track as well as being a television personality. She has presented the BBC's motoring programme Top Gear since May 2016.
Schmitz trained as Hotelfachfrau (graduate in hotel and catering business) and sommelière. During her marriage to a hotelier she lived in Pulheim, but after her divorce in 2000, up until 2003, she owned a bar-restaurant in Nürburg named the Fuchsröhre (Foxhole) after a track section. In 2004 she qualified as a helicopter pilot.
Following occasional drives with the family car on the Nordschleife, all three sisters started racing, but only Sabine continued and collected victories. Schmitz won in CHC and VLN race events, the VLN endurance racing championship in 1998, and won the 24 Hours Nürburgring, in 1996 and 1997, all with a BMW M3 entered and co-driven by local veteran Johannes Scheid. In 2006 Schmitz and Klaus Abbelen drove the #97 Porsche 997 in the Nürburgring VLN endurance racing series, entered by Land Motorsport. They finished third in the 24h 2008, beaten only by the factory-backed Manthey-entered winners of 2007 and 2006.
Schmitz came to mass public attention driving one of the two BMW M5 "ring taxis" around the 20.8 km-long race track in an entertaining manner.
According to her own estimates, Schmitz has gone around the track more than 20,000 times, increasing by approximately 1,200 per year.
Her familiarity with the circuit earned her the nicknames "Queen of the Nürburgring" and "the fastest taxi driver in the world". She says her favourite parts of the track are Schwedenkreuz ("Swedish Cross") and Fuchsröhre ("Fox Hole").
Her company, Nürburgring-based Sabine Schmitz Motorsport, offers advanced driver training and a "ring taxi" service for passengers. Schmitz herself ceased driving the "ring taxi" in 2011.