Sabine Schmitz, star of BBC’s Top Gear, is gearing up for her Silverstone Classic debut in the Group C prototype races.
The 44-year-old, known in Germany as the ‘fastest taxi driver in the world’, rose to fame in the UK after appearing on Top Gear, most memorably when she very nearly beat Jeremy Clarkson‘s time around the Nordschleife in a van, after the Clarkson set his time in a Jaguar S-Type diesel.
Although most people would recognise Schmitz as a television personality, she is also a successful racing driver and became the first woman to win a major 24-hour race at the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 1996 and before going on to win again in 1997.
Schmitz will take to the Silverstone circuit in a Porsche 962, sharing the car with Klaus Abbelen in the two races for Group C Prototypes that raced at Le Mans in the eighties.
“The Porsche 962 is such great car for the purists – I just love driving it,” said Schmitz. “Silverstone is the Mecca for all petrolheads and, with all the downforce in the fast sections, racing the 962 is going to be a fantastic experience… if a little painful on the poor old neck muscles!”
“It’s going to be an incredible feeling to be racing against so many wonderful cars from that period,” added Abbelen. “For us to be part of something so special is just going to be amazing. We can’t wait.”
The 962 will be joined on the grid by the only surviving Jaguar XJR-14, tipped for victory with two-time Le Mans podium winner Nic Minassian taking to the cockpit.
“This year’s two Group C race have all the ingredients to be the most exciting yet,” said Event Director Nick Wigley. “We have all the most competitive cars and drivers from past years plus the added thrill of Sabine in the 962 and Nic in the incredible XJR-14 which is probably the ultimate Group C racer. The sights and sounds of these fabulous cars racing into the sunset on Saturday evening is going to be very special.”
As well as celebrating Le Mans heritage, the Silverstone Classic will be paying tribute to Jim Clark, 50 years after the Scot’s first World Championship winning year. Two historic F1 races for grand prix cars dating back to the sixties will be dedicated to Clark, while the BRDC will be dedicating the annual Silverstone Classic Dinner to the two-time World Champion.
Tickets for the Silverstone Classic must be bought in advance, starting from £35 (plus fees), whilst tickets to the exclusive BRDC dinner are priced at £99.