The 33-year-old Australian produced a faultless drive alongside former F1 driver Tomas Enge to help set up a comfortable win on his maiden appearance at the circuit.
The Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar enduro driver chased the MRS GT Racing Nissan GT-R of Dominic Jost and Florian Scholze for his entire stint as he maintained the gap to just over a second until the mandatory pit stops.
Enge resumed the race in seventh position but a string of fast laps saw him assume the lead after the Jost/Scholze Nissan completed its mandatory pit stop.
Once in front, Enge calmly cruised to take the chequered flag from the Callaway Competition Corvette of Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth, who capitalised on a late mechanical issue for the MRS GT Racing Nissan.
The Team Zakspeed Mercedes SLS driven by Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig claimed the final place on the podium in third.
Russell and Enge are due to start Sunday's second race from pole position.