Corner of Nürburgring to be named after Sabine Schmitz
In a move many of us considered long overdue even before the untimely passing of racing driver, Sabine Schmitz, officials at the Nürburgring have announced the first corner on the legendary Green Hell will be known as Sabine-Schmitz-Kurve following an official ceremony scheduled for September 11th. The wisdom of this date — when the world will almost certainly be preoccupied with the twentieth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in history — raises questions yet unanswered, though we acknowledge a six-hour round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (the largest grassroots motorsport series in the world) is scheduled to take place that day. Regardless of timing, the good news is Schmitz will finally be recognised for her outstanding achievements at the world’s most challenging motor racing circuit.
She amassed a staggering 33,000 laps of the Nürburgring, not only as a professional racing driver (both with and without her husband, Klaus Abbelen, co-owner of Porsche endurance racing outfit, Frikadelli, by her side), but also as the operator of a BMW E60 M5 ‘Ring taxi. She also hit the track in the Schmitz family car (without her parents knowledge) as a teenager. The Queen of the Nordschleife would go on to become the first and, as yet, only woman to win the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, which she achieved in 1996, before repeating the feat the following season.
Schmitz participated in the Nürburgring Endurance Series back when it was known as Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring (VLN, the Association of Nürburgring Endurance Cup Organisers), winning the series in 1998. She possessed a natural talent behind the wheel, demonstrated by the various Nordschleife lap records she smashed, including her efforts to achieve a sub-ten-minute lap in a Ford Transit panel van. The resulting coverage on Top Gear made her a household name across Europe and rewarded her with various media and presenting gigs across numerous networks. She may be gone from the grid, but thanks to Sabine-Schmitz-Kurve, she will live on at the Nordschleife forever.