For Lewis Hamilton, it was the brilliant Brazilian Ayrton Senna whose career achievements in Formula 1 he wanted to emulate in his own.
In winning his fourth F1 championship crown last year, Hamilton surpassed Senna's own number of titles and ahead of the 2018 season he is now, in his own words, "expanding to an area that I wasn't planning".
The big milestone facing Hamilton in these uncharted waters is the chance to become just the third driver in history after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to win five F1 drivers' championships. His primary obstacle in getting there is Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, himself stuck on four titles.
But there are a number of other landmarks the Brit can cross along the way before the chequered flag comes down on a potential fifth title.
First up is one that will quieten accusations of inconsistency that have been hurled his way from former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg this week. Hamilton lines up at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend having placed in the top 10 for 25 consecutive races. It's a run that extends all the way back to the Malaysian Grand Prix in October 2016. Keeping it going first in Melbourne this weekend and at the Bahrain Grand Prix and Chinese Grand Prix next month and Hamilton will break the record set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2013 of 27 consecutive top 10 finishes.
Despite equalling Vettel's four championships last season, there is still one record held by the German Hamilton is yet to reach - most points in a single season. Vettel holds first and second spot on this particular table with 397 and 392. Hamilton's best haul is the 384 amassed when winning the 2014 championship.
Last season, Hamilton achieved F1's grand chelem - grand slam - of notching pole position, race win, fastest lap and leading every lap three times to bring his career total to five, level with Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari. Get another three in 2018 and he will go level with record holder Jim Clark on eight.
Further ahead, there is Schumacher's record of 91 Grand Prix wins to be won. Hamilton is second and still a fair distance behind on 62, but can make up significant ground with another ground by winning another championship.