Eighty wealthy buyers have placed orders for the world's most expensive sports car, the McLaren F1.

Built in Woking, Surrey, by Britain's most successful Grand Prix car maker, the road-going McLaren costs pounds 540,000, has a top speed of 231mph, and can accelerate from 0-60mph in less than four seconds. The first production vehicle off the line went to the Sultan of Brunei.

For his half-million, the McLaren buyer gets a Grand Prix-like carbon-fibre body, a central driving position, two rear seats, a bespoke 627bhp BMW V12 engine, and a power-to-weight ratio twice that of the fastest Ferraris.

Lavish details include engine heat-shields made from 24 carat gold. McLaren plans to build 300 F1s, and at a rate of only 36 cars a year, production should continue into the next decade.

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