Cat Racing's John Bowe and Jim Richards believe this weekend's FAI 1000 is the team's best chance of success in 2001.

The multiple Bathurst winners finished as the top Ford runner in 5th place at the Queensland 500 and Bowe also earned 4th place at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide earlier this year.

"I really enjoy the longer races and our team works very hard on ensuring our tactics are sound for endurance racing," Bowe said.

"Obviously Jim and I have a lot of experience in these events and our team manager Alan Heaphy and the team are very good at planning the tactics.

"At Bathurst you need to have everything in your favour. You have to have speed, reliability, good tactics and a slice of luck to come out on top.

"I am really pleased with our preparation for this year and I think we are far better placed this year than at the same time in 1999.

"Anything can still happen on the day, but I think we are very well placed. I hate to make predictions for Bathurst because that can turn around and bite you, but I am confident we will have a strong car."

Bowe has an amazing Bathurst record. Every time he has finished the race - he has finished on the podium.

The competition at Bathurst this year will be fierce with Bowe expecting a tough day on the Mountain.

"I don't believe the new Falcon undertray is aerodynamically as good as the old one. The Commodore also get 100mm back on their undertray at Bathurst so it won't be an easy day at the office," Bowe said.

Richards is looking forward to returning to Mount Panorama to try to add to his six victories at Bathurst.

"This race is very tough, especially now it is actually part of the championship," Richards said.

"There are some drivers who have to worry about the race, as well as the title. All we have to focus on is trying to win on the day.

"Keeping out of trouble in the early part of the race is important as well as making sure you are not caught out by the number of yellow flag safety car periods.

"The team has worked very hard over the past few weeks and John and I should have a strong car to do a good job."

<pre> RICHARDS AT BATHURST Debut: 1974 - Holden Torana XU-1 with Rod Coppins Starts: 28 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. - Skaife - 1402 2. - Tander - 1193 3. - Lowndes - 1142 4. - Seton - 1049 5. - Radisich - 1044 6. - Murphy - 904 7. - Longhurst - 866 8. - Ingall - 827 9. - Bargwanna - 814 10. - S. Richards - 787 11. - Crompton - 745 12. - Larkham - 694 13. - BOWE - 679 14. - Perkins - 644 15. - Johnson - 639 16. - Baird - 546 17. - Faulkner - 460 18. - Ellery - 406 19. - Kelly - 395 20. - Morris - 357