Racing karts since he was six, Naoki Yamamoto became the All Japan Kart Championship FA class champion in 2002. In 2006 he graduated from Suzuka Circuit Racing School Formula (SRS-F), joined Formula Challenge Japan with a scholarship the following year, and finished second. In 2008 he moved to Japanese Formula 3 racing, and in his second season, became N class champion with eight wins.
In 2010 Yamamoto raced in Formula NIPPON and SUPER GT, finishing seventh overall in the former and earning the Rookie of the Year title. In SUPER GT he teamed up with Takuya Izawa, finishing the season eighth with a third-place podium in his debut race. The highlight of 2011 was second-place in the opening round at Okayama, earning the team ninth for the season.
In his third year racing with Izawa, Yamamoto was on on the podium twice, finishing second in the first two rounds of the 2020 season, giving him a career-best fifth place overall. In the post-season JAF Grand Prix Fuji Sprint Cup, he finished third.
In 2013, Yamamoto changed teams in SUPER GT to Weider Modulo DOME Racing, in which he was instrumental in winning Round 5, the Suzuka 1000km, and completing the season fourth overall, the second best performing Honda team. In 2014, he drove the all-new NSX CONCEPT-GT to a Round 5 victory and fourth for the season. The year also marked Formula NIPPON’s name change to SUPER FORMULA, and a championship title for Yamamoto.
In 2015, Yamamoto moved to Team Kunimitsu, and with Takuya Izawa was the best performing NSX CONCEPT-GT team finishing the season third. 2017 was also a successful year for the team, with a pole position in Round 3 and two third place finishes.
In 2018, Jenson Button joined the team, which finished second in Okayama and Suzuka, won in Round 6 SUGO, and was third in the final round to secure the overall championship. Yamamoto also took the crown in SUPER FORMULA, winning both Japanese premier categories in the same year.
Yamamoto continued to race with Button in 2019, their NSX-GT emblazoned with the number 1 as defending champions. In SUPER FORMULA, Yamamoto finished second, missing out on consecutive titles.
Teaming up with Tadasuke Makino as his SUPER GT teammate in 2020, Yamamoto and team secured the championship title at the last round. In SUPER FORMULA, he staved off his challengers to win the title, repeating his success of 2018.
In 2021, Yamamoto will continue his partnership with Makino in SUPER GT, and in SUPER FORMULA, joins TCS NAKAJIMA RACING to defend both his titles.