Sabine Schmitz will make her FIA World Touring Car Championship debut at the series’ first visit to the Nürburgring Nordschleife next month.
The 45-year-old German – dubbed the ‘Queen of the Nürburgring’ – will drive a second Chevrolet Cruze TC1 for Münnich Motorsport alongside regular driver Stefano D’Aste.
She will become the second woman to race in the WTCC after the late María de Villota, who had a pair of outings at the 2006 and 2007 Race of Spain rounds for Maurer Motorsport.
“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.
“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,” Schmitz added.
Schmitz is the first woman to win a major 24 Hour race, the 24 Hours Nürburgring (1996 and 1997), and shot to prominence with a number of appearances on the Top Gear TV show, in addition to her own co-hosting duties on its German equivalent, D Motor.
By her own estimation, Schmitz has lapped the 20.8-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife more than 30,000 times, which could give her a significant advantage against the rest of the WTCC grid.
“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!” she added.
The WTCC races at the Nürburgring Nordschleife will take place on May 16 alongside the venue’s headline 24 Hours Nürburgring sports car race.
Image via Auto Bild