Cat Racing¹s multiple Bathurst winners John Bowe and Jim Richards will the hit the mountain as the most experienced duo for this year¹s FAI 1000 at Mount Panorama.

With 17 podium finishes between them, the experienced pairing are confident of a strong showing in the debut attack on the mountain for Caterpillar.

Bowe has an amazing Bathurst record ­ every race he has managed to finish on the mountain, he has finished either 1st or 2nd. While the Tasmanian star exited last year¹s race with engine problems, Richards finished in 3rd place after previously winning the Super Touring 1000km event.

While the pairing are familiar with the path to victory lane at Bathurst. But those final steps to the podium above pit lane are the easy part of the equation. Doing battle with 55 other cars desperate for success over a race distance equivalent to six V8 Supercar rounds packed into one afternoon is the tough ask.

"Winning Bathurst is such a great feeling, but you can only truly appreciate it when you don¹t win, or even worse, finish second," Bowe said.

"Bathurst is such an amazing circuit and it is extremely rewarding to put in a good lap around the mountain.

"The response from the race fans at this event is unparalleled and this adds to the pressure of the whole weekend.

"That¹s why it is so rewarding to be successful here and why Cat Racing jumped at the chance to grab Jim Richards for these long distance races. "I can¹t wait for the weekend and Jim and I really believe we can rustle a few feathers on raceday."

Despite a pit-lane fire ruining their chances at the recent Queensland 500, Richards believes he and Bowe have a strong chance for success at Bathurst.

"Our luck deserted us at Queensland but we clearly demonstrated we had as good a chance as anybody," Richards said.

"Both John and I have plenty of experience at this race and a very strong racecar beneath us. These days its like a 1000km sprint race and the role played by co-drivers and the entire crew is imperative.

"You can never predict what is going to happen, but we will be out there giving it our best shot for Caterpillar."

JOHN BOWE AT BATHURST Debut: - 1985 - Volvo with Robbie Francevic Starts: - 14 Wins: - 2 - 1989, 1995 Podium Finishes: 6 2 x 1st, 4 x 2nd (1987, 1988, 1992, 1996)

JIM RICHARDS AT BATHURST Debut: - 1974 - Holden Torana XU-1 with Rod Coppins Starts: - 27 Wins: - 6 - 1978, 1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1998 (Super Touring) Podium Finishes: 11 6 x 1st, 2 x 2nd (1993, 1997) 3 x 3rd (1974, 1989, 1998)

POINTS 1 - Lowndes - 1642 2 - Ingall - 1588 3. - Tander - 1470 4 - Seton - 1416 5 - Skaife - 1392 6 - Bright - 1276 7 - Murphy - 1148 8 - Bargwanna - 1148 9 - BOWE - 1078 10 - Perkins - 1016

"Paul Ryan" <paul@pr2.com.au>