Top Gear's Sabine Schmitz takes us on a high-speed lap ... and we just about survived


Reporter Kerri-Ann Roper drives so slowly friends call her Miss Daisy so what happened when she was strapped into a car with racing driver Sabine Schmitz for a whizz around the Top Gear test track.

I owe Chris Evans an apology. A big one.

When I first saw the footage of the new Top Gear series a few weeks ago and the clip of him being sick, I admit it, I laughed.

Seriously, I thought, being taken for a drive by Sabine Schmitz, new Top Gear host and famous German racing driver, could make you sick? Whatever.

I'm sorry Chris. I take it all back.

To put it in perspective: Sabine is called The World's Fastest Taxi Driver, she's clocked 400kph (250mph) in a Bugatti Veyron and her idea of a Sunday afternoon drive is doing a lap around the legendary Nurburgring track.

She also cited "a lot of sick people in my passenger seat" as a highlight to look out for in the new series of Top Gear.

Brilliant. Because I'm about to be her passenger for a spin around the Top Gear track in a yellow Mustang.

Stepping in to the Mustang at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey (Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

Sabine skids to a halt, dropping off her last victim, who looks shaken and stirred as he makes his way out the car.

Forget a cordial hello from the driver, this is not Uber. Her idea of a greeting is revving the engine so much that it sounds like an animal growling at you.

Climbing into the car, the first thing I notice is how clean and pristine the interior is.

I guess now isn't a good time to tell Sabine I get really car sick and that this Mustang may be about to become a vomit comet.

Chris Evans moments before he is sick whilst being driven by Sabine Schmitz at Laguna Seca, California (BBC/PA)

I want to crack a joke and tell her that I drive so slowly my friends and family refuse to drive with me any more, and my nickname is Driving Miss Daisy.

She'll laugh at that, right? But there's no time. The door isn't even closed, the seat belt strapped on and we're off. Gone in 60 seconds. It's all a screech of rubber, scenery flashing by and a little bit of swearing by me.

The speed demon next to me is smiling. Widely.

Sabine Schmitz.
(BBC World Wide)

To stop myself being sick, I ask a question. How fast are we going? If I'm going to die, I want to know the speed at which my life is flashing in front of me.

She's too busy ripping up the tarmac to look at the speedometer and instead tells me about the car and why she loves driving it around the track at this speed.


By this stage I've braced myself so far back in the seat if I make it out of this in one piece I think there'll be an imprint of where I've sat.

"Ahh, look, a plane!" she says gleefully. All I can see is AN ACTUAL AEROPLANE on the track that we're hurtling towards. At the last minute she whips the car around and says "Wheeee!".

The Mustang during its lap at the Top Gear track.
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

No, Sabine. We are not having fun. You are.

We dodge a pile of tyres. We spin around. One of us wants to cry a little bit in fear. Or throw up. And then it's over.

"I didn't throw up," I manage to say feebly to Sabine as I get out the car on very shaky legs.

Reporter Kerri-Ann Roper at the track (Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

She greets one of her Top Gear co-hosts, who is about to take a fresh batch of people around the track.

"Has anyone been sick yet?" he asks her.

"Not yet," she replies.

What she doesn't see or hear is me turning to our photographer Andrew and saying: "I feel really sick...".

I guess Chris gets to enjoy that last laugh.