Life in cars

Sabine Sch­mitz

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS -

TG’s own Queen of the Nür­bur­gring talks ‘bor­row­ing’ cars and Porsches with soul

The first car I drove was my mum’s, when I was 17 – she never used it, so it was easy as the key was al­ways on the desk. I just de­cided to grab it and go – and head straight to the Nord­schleife. That was a BMW 318i. My mother won­dered why the tyres were al­ways worn, and the brakes were soft, and why the petrol was al­ways gone. One day I took her car for a race and I put it back in the garage on slicks. Then she took it to the hair­dresser. The good thing is it was so foggy she couldn’t go very fast. She came home and said: “I don’t know what’s wrong with my car; I steer to the right and it drives to the left.”

I was al­ways a BMW fan, but didn’t have the money for a BMW. My mum bought me a Volkswagen Polo GT when I was 18 – I put a roll cage in it, and I drove it on the ’Ring as of­ten as I could. I had it for two years. Then I drove in the Ford Fi­esta Mixed Cup, and I got a car from Ford. It was a Sierra Cos­worth, rear-wheel drive. I won a cou­ple of races with that car.

I drove a few more Fords, then I got my first BMW, which was an 850 CSi. I had a horse trailer to take to a com­pe­ti­tion, so I asked a friend of mine if he could put a hook on the BMW. It was nearly im­pos­si­ble be­cause the oil cooler for the rear axle is on the back of the 850. So I said: “Can’t you put the cool­ing sys­tem some­where else?”. He said, “Yes, no prob­lem, bring me the car!”

Now I have a cou­ple of cars. I have the rac­ing car – a Porsche GT3 R, plus a Porsche Boxster S in black. It’s quite nice to have a con­vert­ible in the heat. And I have a Ford pickup that I use on my ranch.

We have another GT3 R for the road, and a GT3 RS and a GT2 RS, so a nice Porsche col­lec­tion. I must say, the GT2 RS is a weapon. If you want to go on a track with it, you re­ally have to think if it’s nec­es­sary or not! Be­cause, I mean, it’s bloody fast. The sus­pen­sion is so soft so you have trac­tion, but it’s re­ally forc­ing the goal with that car on the Nord­schleife – it’s very dan­ger­ous and very hard to keep on the track.

I like our Porsches, they han­dle nicely, but it’s a lot of work. It’s not like a BMW M6 – that’s so easy to drive, and where’s the chal­lenge in that? That’s why I get bored in a BMW or a Mercedes – they might be made for the race­track, but my Porsches have a lit­tle bit of soul.

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