I never knew Sabine Schmitz personally, but I kind of felt like I did. As a young teen on the internet, I befriended a girl my age, Lara, who turned out to be Schmitz’s niece. Lara is part of the family that grew up at the Hotel am Tiergarten within the infamous Nürburgring, and she’s a riot—always rife with stories about what it was like to be raised on a steady diet of fast cars, horse riding, and badass women. She would regale us with tales of her family race team, her mother, her grandmother, and her aunt, Sabine. I’d always told myself I would fly out to Germany just to be a fly on the wall and watch the chaos unfold with a smile on my face.
That, unfortunately, hasn’t happened, which means I won’t have the opportunity to meet Sabine Schmitz in person, to have her drive me around the Nürburgring, to see the way she exists within her family. And that’s hard. It’s hard for everyone who grew fond of the raucous blonde woman who scared the hell out of folks in her guest appearances on Top Gear. It’s especially hard for her family.
I’ve been trying to sum up my feelings about her loss since I first learned about it, and I haven’t really been able to. I get the sense that a lot of automotive publications have been going through the same thing. So, I think I’d like to celebrate her life the way she’d lived it: vibrantly, and in real time. And the best way to do that is by reliving some of her finest moments, beyond even the Nürburgring van video (which is, of course, a classic).
Here’s one of my favorites, with Schmitz just killing it at the Nürburgring behind the wheel of several different cars, including the Caterham 7 Supersport R, the Morgan three-wheeler and the Ariel Atom 3.5.
Or one where she just rattles off the names of all the Nürburgring’s corners like it’s no big deal:
Or the time she was interviewed while cruising around the track in a Mustang:
If you never got a chance to take the ‘Ring Taxi with Schmitz, this might give you a little idea of what it was like:
Here’s a different shot from the exterior:
And that’s not even including her Instagram, which is full of gems of its own:
She will be so sorely missed.