Tributes are pouring in across the motorsport community at large for Nürburgring queen Sabine Schmitz who passed away at 51 after a battle with cancer.
The only female racer to win the grueling Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance car race - and she did it twice, Schmitz also reached fame for her longstanding involvement as a pro driver on British motoring show Top Gear.
A high point of Schmitz's involvement with the classic motoring program was her entertaining attempt to lap the Ring in less than 10 minutes onboard a Ford Transit.
Top Gear will dedicate its upcoming episode on Sunday to the late German racer.
"Sabine was a beloved member of the Top Gear family and presenting team since 2016, having first appeared on the show in 2004, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with her on the team is in shock at this news," Clare Pizey, executive producer of Top Gear, said via the BBC.
"Sabine radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got – and was a force of nature for women drivers in the motoring world.
"Like everyone else who knew her, we will truly miss her – Sabine really was one of a kind. Our thoughts are with her partner Klaus, who was always by her side and who we welcomed to Dunsfold many times, and her family in Germany."
The Nürburgring offered its own tribute on Twitter to their beloved Queen. "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!"
Formula 1 said in a statement: "We are all deeply saddened to hear that Sabine Schmitz has passed away.
"An incredible talent and wonderful person who made us all smile. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
The FIA has joined the World Touring Car community in paying tribute to Sabine Schmitz, who has passed away aged 51. https://t.co/kvz7R9w7vz
— FIA (@fia) March 17, 2021
Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) March 17, 2021
We’re incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz.
A fierce competitor, talented racer and Queen of the Nürburgring, who shared our passion for driving fast.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 17, 2021
Sabine Schmitz was an inspiration to many, she was fast, funny, and quite simply, an amazing woman. The 'Queen of the Nürburgring', taken far too soon.
Rest in peace, Sabine. 💚 https://t.co/JFijDslvMT
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 17, 2021