Racing driver and Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz has revealed she has been fighting “extremely persistent cancer” for the last three years.

The 51-year old disclosed the battle on Facebook, saying that she wanted to explain to her fans her absence from the 2020 Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie (NLS) endurance series.

She said (translated from German): “Dear friends of professional motor sport.

“Many of you have probably wondered why I was on the list of participants on our Porsche in the NSL and then didn’t drive after all.

“I would like to provide enlightenment here, I think I owe it to my/our fans!

“Since the end of 2017, I have been fighting an extremely persistent cancer that has not been eliminated with the resources so far. It got a little better – but now it’s come back with full force. Now I have to draw all the strength and nerve to master the next powerful therapies … hoping something [good] will happen. So I say goodbye ′′probably′′ for the first time this season.

“In addition, I would like to thank everyone for their help and support in my everyday life, and encouragement in writing!

“So sweethearts, now you have an update. Please stay healthy and cheerful, see you at the ‘Ring.”

Schmitz has been a successful racing driver since the 1990s, having won Nürburgring 24 Hours in 1996 and 1997, and the NLS in 1998. She is widely known as “Queen of the Nürburgring”, becoming known for her “’Ring Taxi” rides around the famous Nordschleife track. She grew up only a short distance from the 12.3-mile-long track and estimates she has completed more than 20,000 laps.