From the very first day he had strapped himself into a race car - almost 13 years earlier - Gordon Shedden's driving force was his ambition to win the British Touring Car Championship.
And now he had it. Finishing second in his Honda Civic in the penultimate race of the 2012 season at Brands Hatch had put him in an unassailable position. The title was his. He claimed an honourable third place in the final race, but it was little more than a victory parade for the Scot. It was time to break open the champagne.
He lived the dream for the next three weeks. "I was on this euphoric high," Shedden recalls. "I had achieved my goal and I was just really, really happy. But then there was a kind of dip. I had got something I had always wanted, but I was thinking, 'What am I going to do now?' It was a strange kind of numb feeling."
What turned up was a new ambition. And, as he sits in the circuit office at Knockhill, gazing out at the track where he will race this weekend, it is clear that Shedden's appetite has been revived. "Now, I want to win it more than anyone else. I've got one title and I want a few more."
Shedden would need three more titles to beat the current record - shared by a number of drivers - but you wouldn't bet against him doing it. Bright-eyed and with a self-deprecating wit, the 34-year-old Fifer seems almost too easy-going to ply the calculating trade of a race driver, but he is an altogether different animal behind the wheel.
It doesn't get any easier, though. "I haven't changed what I do on the circuit, but it does seem a bit tougher this year," he shrugs. "Last season, the little 50/50 battles all seemed to go my way, but now I find that that doesn't seem to happen much these days. As soon as I'm in a close-quarters fight with anyone, I'm not getting the breaks I was getting a year ago."
Are all the other drivers trying to knock the champion off his perch? "It's not far off that," he replies. "I know I'm not doing anything different to what I was doing last year, but it sometimes seems just that little bit harder to get to the end of the race. The plan now is to get in front so that nobody can hit me."
Easier said than done. As the touring car series rolls into Knockhill yet again, Shedden's intimate knowledge of the place - he is business development manager for the circuit - bestows little advantage in the battle for championship points.
"At this level there's no such thing as track knowledge," he explains. "The thing is, I've not been round the circuit in a full-blown race car since the touring car meeting here last year. I've been round in some road cars, but they are so different from race cars that the experience doesn't help.
"Really, any top drawer driver can learn a circuit in about half-a-dozen laps. They know where they're going after that. On top of that, I only raced here for about six months before heading south, so quite a few of the other drivers have probably driven more race miles on the track than I have."
Shedden currently holds third place in the championship, behind leader and Honda team-mate Matt Neal and second-placed Andrew Jordan, in a privately-entered Honda. However, the gaps between the three drivers are small enough that the positions could be reversed in the course of one three-race meeting, so Shedden's title defence is far from being derailed just yet.
Not that he is making any promises about delighting his home crowd this weekend. "There are a lot of different pressures when the series comes here," he says. "A lot of expectations as well, and I've got to try and manage those. Just because you are a Scottish driver racing at Knockhill, it doesn't mean you're going to win. If it was that easy, we'd all be doing it."
Even so, Shedden is keenly aware that he is the first Scot to drive the No.1 car in the BTCC since John Cleland had that honour in 1996. And as the only other Scot to win the title was Jim Clark, in 1964, then the prestige of being reigning champion is not lost on him.
Like Clark, he has ambitions to move on to other things.
"I'm a happy camper at the moment," he explains. "But, yeah, it is a goal of mine to do Le Mans. It's the biggest race in the world, so who wouldn't want to do it?
"It would need to be the right deal, with the right people, at the right time. It would also need to dovetail with what I'm doing at the moment. I'm in no rush."
Not until he gets behind the wheel at least.