The 27-year-old from Lanark knows that to uphold family pride, he must add to his 1995 triumph in the British series.
McRae's father Jimmy captured the title on five occasions between 1981 and 1988, and still competes successfully in the championship's category for historic cars. And Alister's brother Colin took the crown in 1991 and 1992 before going on to become one of the world's leading rally drivers.
Alister had an excellent chance to claim a second championship last year when he headed the standings going into the final round on the Isle of Man. But just when he looked set for glory, the Scot crashed his Volkswagen Golf and left the way clear for Mark Higgins to prise the title from his grasp.
The heartbreak of 1997 still haunts McRae but it has made him more determined to make amends this year. "I was disappointed to miss out on the championship last year and it's certainly something I'm hoping to put right this time," he said.
"I'd like to win the title again to equal Colin's record, although I'm not sure about winning it five times like my father did."
McRae has plenty of faith in his Volkswagen team, who won the manufacturer's championship last year despite their No1 driver's mishap in the Manx event.
"I'm very confident about the coming season," said McRae. "We know our car will be very competitive on the gravel event early in the season and will have a new model, which will be a major step forward on the tarmac round later on."
McRae will be in action today when he opens Volkswagen's bid to retain the manufacturer's championship in the season's curtain-raiser, the Silverstone rally sprint.
His own personal pursuit of glory will begin in the first round of the driver's series, the Vauxhall Rally of Wales, next month.Reuse content