Top Gear to pay tribute to the late Sabine Schmitz with 30-min special
Top Gear will air a 30-minute special on Sunday to pay tribute to the late TV presenter, Sabine Schmitz, who passed away on March 17th aged 51. The specially produced show will be released on BBC iPlayer from 8pm, directly following the current series finale, while the terrestrial premiere will take place on BBC on April 7th at 7.30pm. Sabine, who first shot to stardom as a racing car driver, passed away at a hospital in Trier, Germany last month following a three-year battle with cancer. The racing team, which she founded with her husband Klaus Abbelen, 60, announced her death to the public, describing her ‘brave fight against cancer.’She was known as the Queen of the Nurburgring after she reportedly drove around the 14-mile circuit – which is widely regarded the toughest in the world – over 20,000 times. Sabine won the 24-hour touring car race twice in 1996 and 1997 with a BMW M3 before establishing a career as a motorsport guest commentator and TV presenter. Her skill around the track earned her appearances on German motorsport TV channels, including the D Motor programme, where she took on sports cars such as the Ferrari 360, with much slower vehicles like a 1200 horse power truck. Top Gear’s current hosts, Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinnes in addition to former presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, Rory Reid and Matt LeBlanc will all feature on the one-off episode to the share their fondest memories of the late star. Narrated by Zoe Ball, the thirty-minute celebration of Sabine’s life and career will feature some of her most memorable TV moments as well as touching tributes from her friends and colleagues including David Coulthard, Susie and Toto Wolff, and Jess Hawkins. Sabine was a beloved member of the Top Gear family and presenting team since 2016, having first appeared on the show in 2004 when she won British hearts by breaking the ten-minute barrier around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a diesel Jaguar S-Type – before attempting the same in a Ford Transit in the following series. Sabine’s final Top Gear appearance was in episode five of the 28th season, and despite her illness, she still flew to London to attend the series’ Leicester Square premiere in January 2020. Clare Pizey, Top Gear’s Executive Producer, said: ‘We send our heartfelt condolences to Sabine’s partner Klaus and her family whose loss is so much greater than ours. ‘We had to pay a special tribute to Sabine as she was a such a big part of our Top Gear family and we will never forget the joy we had working with and knowing her.’Alex Renton, co-Executive Producer on Top Gear added: ‘Sabine was part of Top Gear for over 15 years and it was no surprise that so many people who had worked with her over that period dropped everything to be a part of this tribute. ‘She was so loved and will be greatly missed by us all.’ Watch the one-off episode on BBC iPlayer on Sunday from 8pm onwards.