Top Gear's new speed queen: How the divorced German action woman who grew up next to a Grand Prix track and is addicted to cars, horses and helicopters became the show's first female presenter in 15 years
She is the only woman on Top Gear's new line up of presenters, picked for her achievements behind the wheel as well as her quick-wit in front of the camera.
But British viewers know little about the 46-year-old German race ace who is at the heart of the racing world in Germany after growing up within earshot of the fearsome Grand Prix circuit dubbed the Green Hell.
And after a handful of career triumphs under her belt - as well as more than 20,000 circuits of the famed route that has seen her dubbed the 'Queen of the Nurburgring' - Sabine now enjoys nothing more than riding her horses at the Western ranch hotel she owns with partner Klaus Abbelen
Called a 'fearless speed queen' by Chris Evans, Sabine first grabbed British viewers' attention when Jeremy Clarkson circled the Nurburgring in nine minutes and 59 seconds in a Jaguar S-Type diesel and she scoffed: 'I tell you something, I do that lap time in a van.'
She then did the lap in the same car and beat Clarkson's effort by 47 seconds - although when she did try and beat him in a Ford Transit van she fell short of his time by nine seconds, but proved herself quick-witted enough to hold her own on TV.
This is no surprise to her fans, of course.
Sabine is a professional racing driver who grew up barely 200 metres from the famous track that hosts events like the German and European Grand Prix.
She has driven for BMW and Porsche and became the first female to win a major 24-hour race, the 24 Hours Nurburgring, in 1996. She also won the title the following year.
A true action star, Sabine was also the first woman to win the gruelling day-long race, 24 Hours Nürburgring and in 2006, Sabine co-drove the #97 Porsche 997 in the Nürburgring VLN endurance racing series, taking third.
Animal lover Sabine is seen relaxing with a dog at the Eifel Ranch (left); and going out riding with a group of fellow horse-lovers (left)
She has hosted several German TV motoring shows and made her appearance with former host Clarkson on Top Gear in 2004.
Sabine has earned the nickname as 'the fastest taxi driver in the world' for her BMW ring taxi laps - when motor fans pay 225 euros to ride alongside a pro driver around the the 20.8km Nordschleife circuit (the north loop of the Nurburgring course).
She estimates that she has driven the track more than 20,000 times to date, and each year added approximately 1,200 more drives to that count, though she stopped being a driver herself in 2011.
Yet driving cars at record times is only one of her many talents.
From a family that owned a local hotel and restaurant, Sabine, who was born in Adenau, Germany, and her car-loving sisters grew up in the Hotel am Tiergarten.
She also trained as a hotelfachfrau - a hotel manager and sommelier, and during her marriage to a man, whom little is known about, by the surname 'Renk', she relocated to Pulheim. But after her divorce in 2000, she owned a bar-restaurant in Nurburg called the Fuchsröhre (Foxhole), named after a section of the track.
And if fast cars weren't challenge enough, Sabine qualified as a helicopter pilot in 2004.
She is fearless about taking on causes, and last month she joined a march in Cologne of women protesting at the mass sexual assaults which took place in the city on New Year's Eve.
She said: 'What happened on New Year's Eve simply cannot be allowed to stand. And it doesn't matter to me at all who these men were. It was simply wrong.'
The protesters marching on Sunday carried placards reading 'No Right to Rape' and 'Hands Off!' as the police probe into what occurred continues.
Today she is reported to be in a relationship with Klaus Abbelen, 55, and she is involved with his Western Saloon at the Eifel Ranch, a Western-themed boutique hotel in Barweiler.
The pair appeared on Canadian TV show Timber Kings to chronicle the building of their striking wood structure, where Sabine rides her horses and spends time with her beloved dogs.
Klaus is as much of an action man to her superwoman. As the heir to Abbelen Meat Products, a processing company established by his father that manufactures 1,000 tons of meatballs per week, he also owns Frikadelli Racing team, which is a play on the German word for 'meatball'.
A fellow thrill-seeker, Klaus began racing Ferraris in the 1990s and became the Euro GT Series champion in 2000. He has also recently competed in the FIA GT Championship, as well as in the Le Mans Endurance Series.
In 2006, he and Sabine drove the #97 Porsche 997 in the VLN endurance racing series on the Nürburgring, entered by Land Motorsport.
She has previously appeared on the Top Gear, competing against former host Clarkson in a 2004 episode
Sabine Schmitz gained a reputation as Germany's top women's racing driver after her youth near a track
Sabine has also established her own Nurburgring company, Sabine Schmitz Motorsport and is a popular co-host on the German motoring show, D Motor, in which she took on different racing challenges each episode.
The question for Top Gear now must be why it took them so long to snap her up as the first female presenter in 15 years.
She follows in the footsteps of Kate Humble, Angela Rippon and Vicki Butler-Henderson, who were presenters for the original Top Gear before its 2002 revival.
After accepting the Top Gear job in June, Evans told BBC Radio 5 Live that the presenting team would 'definitely' include a woman.
Schmitz,who has already completed some filming with Evans, will be known to viewers after appearing in series five and 11 of the show.
She said: 'I grew up next to the Nurburgring, and have been racing for most of my life, so the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up.
'I've appeared on Top Gear a few times in the past, so I know we're going to have a lot of fun.'