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Queen of the ‘Ring Schmitz to challenge WTCC drivers

Queen of the ‘Ring Schmitz to challenge WTCC drivers

08/04/2015 11:03

Fast female Sabine Schmitz will tame an FIA World Touring Car Championship race car for the first time when she takes on 19 male rivals on home ground at the most demanding track on the planet – the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife near Cologne in Germany.

Schmitz, 45, has signed up to contest the two WTCC races scheduled for the 25-kilometre ‘Ring layout on 16 May, which take place just ahead of the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

But while the championship and her ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 will be new to the driver and TV presenter, few know the Nürburgring Nordschleife and its demanding 170 corners better than Schmitz.

Growing up at the family hotel within sight of the famous circuit, Schmitz achieved success and fame through her driving exploits around the ‘Ring. Not only is she a winner of the gruelling Nürburgring 24 Hours, Schmitz began a high-speed ‘taxi’ service to show visitors to the venue how a fast lap should be done. It meant she would typically complete thousands of laps of the track each year.

Schmitz also found fame presenting D Motor on the DMAX television channel and on BBC Top Gear, when she lapped the track faster than outgoing presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Her WTCC debut marks a return to racing following a one-year absence and coincides with the championship’s first visit to the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which last hosted a FIA-level international race in 1983. Schmitz’s progress throughout the WTCC weekend will be captured on camera with regular updates broadcast online, on TV and on social media.

“We are thrilled to welcome a great talent and personality like Sabine Schmitz to the WTCC family and we can’t wait to watch her at the wheel of a new-generation TC1 World Touring Car on the world’s toughest race circuit against the best touring car drivers,” said WTCC General Manager François Ribeiro. “The Nürburgring Nordschleife will be a peak event in the season, the race all our drivers want to win. While Sabine doesn’t have experience of driving her ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet, her professional racing background and intimate knowledge of the track will mean there’s no reason why she can’t challenge the male WTCC drivers.”

Schmitz, who will promote the FIA Women in Motorsport initiative during her WTCC Race of Germany appearance from 15/16 May, said: “I am really happy that I have the opportunity to take part in the WTCC. In my eyes it is the best racing series we have. I could have entered the championship a race earlier, but sadly that didn’t work with my agenda. But the WTCC Test Day on the Nordschleife on 28 April will be very important and good for my preparation.”

She continued: “I will stay realistic with my goals for the races. There are some very good drivers on the grid and even if some of them don’t know the Nordschleife very well, they are the best touring car drivers in the world. But maybe the weather is on my side. I love to drive on the Nordschleife when it’s raining and we get plenty of rain there.”

LADA Sport Rosneft driver Hugo Valente has been having trouble sleeping ahead of the FIA World Touring Car Championship’s return to the Nürburgring Nordschleife this week.

Leading FIA World Touring Car Championship drivers took centre stage during the Adenauer Racing Festival this afternoon.

FIA World Touring Car Championship drivers past and present will be in the thick of the battle during one of toughest events on the international calendar, the ADAC 24h-Rennen.

The Nürburgring Nordschleife might be all-new for Polestar Cyan Racing but factory drivers Thed Björk and Fredrik Ekblom can count on previous experience of the 25.378-kilometre layout.

Rob Huff is in for a busy weekend when the Nürburging Nordschleife hosts FIA WTCC Race of Germany from 26-28 May – but reckons the extra track time could hand him an advantage.

Sébastien Loeb Racing driver Grégoire Demoustier will already be a Nürburgring Nordschleife winner when the FIA World Touring Car Championship comes calling in Germany this weekend.