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Pioneering female racer Sabine Schmitz passes away aged 51

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Sabine Schmitz, the pioneering female racer and only woman to have won the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race, has passed away at the age of 51.

The German racer, affectionately nicknamed by many as the ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, revealed last year that she was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

She twice won the 24-hour race at the fabled Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in a BMW M3, and raced a Porsche in the same event in 2008 to finish third.

Schmitz was also known for her appearances on British motoring show Top Gear, in which she famously attempted to lap a Ford Transit van around the 15-mile circuit under 10 minutes.

Sophia Floersch, who became the first F3 racer in 2020, tweeted her condolences as she called it “very sad for motorsport.”

She wrote: “Sabine is the queen at Nurburgring. She always will be unreachable in the Green Hell. Seeing her races was inspirational and motivating. My deepest condolences to the family. RIP Sabine”.

The Nurburgring added their own tribute on Twitter as they said: “The Nürburgring has 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!”

"We are all deeply saddened to hear that Sabine Schmitz has passed away," said Formula 1 in a statement. "An incredible talent and wonderful person who made us all smile. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."

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