"To me, the Lions is the carrot dangling heavily at the end of the season," said O'Driscoll, a tryscorer for Leinster during their Heineken Cup win over Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon.
"The Lions creates such excitement among players and fans across all of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
"You forget the enormity of it until the Lions season starts. It's the rareness of the event that makes it such a huge spectacle."
Brian O'Driscoll scored for Leinster in the Heineken Cup at the weekend
The three-Test series against the Springboks may not be taking place until the end of the domestic season but O'Driscoll knows that this season is set to be a special one.
"While something which is eight months away isn't at the forefront of my mind, the players and the fans are fully aware already that this is a Lions season.
"There's a heck of a lot of ruby to be played before then and as a player you are almost afraid to think too much about it, as so much can happen in that period.
"You really need to be in form going into the Six Nations and then the final rounds of the Heineken Cup before you are in with a real chance of selection."
O'Driscoll became a worldwide name during the 2001 tour to Australia
Having already toured Australia and New Zealand, O'Driscoll is determined to be involved against the third southern hemisphere super power in May and June next year. A star of the 2001 series against the Wallabies, O'Driscoll has tasted defeat on his two Lions tours so far and he admits that Ian McGeechan's men will have to work hard to prevent a third successive loss when they face the current World Champions.
"I have been fortunate enough to play on two tours now. We should have won in Australia in 2001, and then the New Zealand tour for me was over before it started and we lost miserably.
"It isn't about avenging the missed opportunities of the last tour, but I'd really love to be part of another Lions series.
"Playing South Africa at any time is a tough ask but it is do-able, and they can be beaten.
"The Springboks are under huge pressure of their own to win. There is no way they will concede another loss to the Lions without going down with a fight.
The 2005 tour ended in disappointment for O'Driscoll and the Lions
Despite the challenge awaiting the Lions in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, O'Driscoll knows that, with McGeechan in charge, the Lions will be in the best possible hands when they travel to South Africa.
"'Geech' brings a lot to the role. He seems to have the ability to bring about great camaraderie and bond teams in such a short time which is half the battle with a Lions tour.
"And, don't forget, he has already had success with the Lions, especially on the last tour to South Africa in 1997.
"Next summer offers players a great chance to make a little bit of history."