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Singer Taylor Swift to perform at confirmed US Grand Prix

United States Grand Prix organizers have turned to singer Taylor Swift in an attempt to attract new fans and sell out the October race.

The Austin race was in doubt because of a 20% cut in Texas state funding but has now been confirmed for 2016.

Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein said signing up Swift was crucial to keeping the race on the calendar for a fifth year.

"How do we expand our audience? That’s what this headliner does," he said.

Swift, a 10-time Grammy award winner whose fifth album 1989 sold almost 1.3m copies in its debut week last year, will be the headline act after qualifying on Saturday, 22 October.

"In the past we have chosen headliners that are a great match with our existing demographic. But I don’t need our existing demographic alone. We need the future," added Epstein.

"We think we will sell every ticket that we have got and it is because of the combination of both Formula 1 and Taylor Swift."

Bad weather hit the race’s revenues significantly last season. Saturday’s final practice was held behind closed doors due to flooding and, when fans were admitted, qualifying could not go ahead and was postponed until Sunday.

But Epstein is confident last year’s weather was a freak event.

"They say it was a once in 2,500 year event... so we’ve got a few years of good weather ahead. We’ve got 2,499 years to go."

By Robert Muriisa.

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