FIA pays tribute to ground-breaking World Touring Car racer Sabine Schmitz
The FIA has joined the World Touring Car community in paying tribute to Sabine Schmitz, who has passed away aged 51.
Flying the FIA Women in Motorsport flag, Schmitz made history at WTCC Race of Germany in May 2015 when she became the first female driver to score a point in the modern era of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The German, who was making her WTCC debut in a Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 run by ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, finished 10th and scored one point in the first of two races on the 25.378-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Speaking shortly afterwards, Schmitz said: “There are not many sports where men and women compete together. It’s more or less motorsport and some horse-riding. You need someone to look at who does it. I think I wasn’t too bad driving against all the professionals, the world champions and the Formula One drivers.”
After placing P11 in Race 2, Schmitz returned to the WTCC for the two Nürburgring Nordschleife races in 2016 and matched her 2015 results.
Michèle Mouton, President of the FA Women in Motorsport Commission, said: “Sabine’s achievement in scoring points in the WTCC of course broke new ground and demonstrated a huge talent. But Sabine achieved so much more in life and her career both in motor racing and broadcasting. She was a tremendous ambassador for FIA Women in Motorsport and it makes us all extremely proud in terms of what she accomplished and the many women she inspired to follow in her footsteps. This is a great loss and our hearts go out to all her loved ones.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, which promoted the WTCC and is now the promoter of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, said: “It was a joy to welcome Sabine to the FIA WTCC. Although she knew the track very, very well, the car and the category were completely new to her. But she showed a true fighting spirit and a real talent to score points in both events. Out of the car she was engaging, enthusiastic and extremely approachable. It was a privilege to have known her, even for just a short time, and all our thoughts go to her family and friends.”
As well as her achievements in the WTCC, Schmitz was a two-time winner of the 24h-Rennen, the Nürburgring 24 hours. She also enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting and was a presenter on the popular BBC Top Gear programme.