She died at the age of 51 after a long battle against cancer.

A native of nearby Adenau, Schmitz was an immensely popular figure at the Nurburgring who became the first female winner of the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 1996 before taking a second victory the following year.

She was also famous for her BMW Ring Taxi rides and helped promote the legendary German circuit with various TV appearances, including a spell as a presenter for the BBC's flagship show Top Gear.

In total she is estimated to have completed over 33,000 laps of the full Nurburgring-Nordschleife, earning her the affectionate nickname 'Queen of the Ring'.

The Nurburgring has decided to honour Schmitz's life by naming a corner after her, with the first left-hander of the Nordschleife renamed the Sabine-Schmitz-Kurve.

"Sabine Schmitz was the ambassador of the Nurburgring, her name was mentioned around the globe in the same breath as our race track", said Nurburgring Managing Director Mirco Markfort.

"It is still stands for what defines the Nurburgring: the close connection to the region, the close proximity to the fans and the passionate commitment."

Sabine Schmitz, Frikadelli Porsche 2014 Nurburgring 24 Hours

Sabine Schmitz, Frikadelli Porsche 2014 Nurburgring 24 Hours

Photo by: Motorsport Images

The circuit decided to rename the first corner of the daunting Nordschleife loop as it is located in Nurburg itself, which is where Schmitz grew up.

A statement said: "The choice fell on the left-hand curve, which is located on the outskirts of the community of Nurburg – where Sabine Schmitz grew up just a few metres away from the race track.

After turning off the Grand Prix track, it is the first corner on the Nordschleife." 

The official inauguration of the Sabine-Schmitz-Kurve will take place at the 6-hour race of the Nurburgring Endurance Series on 11 September, a championship she also won in its VLN guise in 1998.

In addition to her VLN exploits, Schmitz also made two guest appearances in the World Touring Car Championship at the Nurburgring, claiming points finishes in 2015 and 2016 with Munnich Motorsport-run Chevrolets.