Nick Cassidy got the better of former Formula One World Champion Jensen Button on his way to third place in the Suzuka 300 kms Super GT race in his Lexus LC500.
With co-driver Ryo Hirakawa, the pair have now moved up to third overall in the series after three of the eight rounds.
After qualifying fourth, Aucklander Cassidy charged around the outside of Takashi Kogure to grab third place on the first corner.
When former Formula One driver Heiki Kovalainen crashed on lap 14 of the 52 lap race the safety car came out and the field bunched up.
On the restart Cassidy out manoeuvred Button and overtook him on the inside of the first corner and began closing on race leader Takuya Izawa before they pitted on lap 24 due to another safety car.
Hirakawa took over from Cassidy but struggled to get cold tyres up their working temperature and surrendered second place to Button’s co-driver Naoki Yamamoto.
Their positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race, with Button taking over the lead in the series, while Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli who finished sixth remain second.
The next round is on 1 July in Thailand.
Results – Suzuka 300 kms
1, T Nojiri, T Izawa (NSX);
2, N Yamamoto, J Button (NSX) 2.793 seconds behind;
3, N Cassidy, R Hirakawa (Lexus LC 500) 11.387.
1, Yamamoto, Button, 32;
2, T Matsuda, R Quintarelli (GTR), 31;
3, Cassidy, Hirakawa, 26.