Come race day, Yamamoto started out on soft tyres and managed to pull away from the competition. When he came into the pits for new rubber, it was the Kiwi driver who took the lead for a few laps, profiting from his longer-lasting hard compound tyres. The lead went back to Mugen after Cassidy’s stop but when the Kiwi left the stand, he came back into the race just 7.5 seconds behind Yamamoto, and then proceeded to close down that gap to a staggering 0.8 seconds by the final lap. An epic nail-biting lap ensued which felt like it lasted for an hour, especially with the stakes as high as the Super Formula Championship crown. But when the chequered flag finally dropped at Suzuka, it was Naomi Yamamoto who held the lead and he was duly crowned champion.
Yamamoto, who is most famous for sharing driving duties in the Mugen Honda NSX with Jenson Button, can now add a second Super Formula title to his list of achievements.