Daren Givans: From virtual to reality in motorsport

Givans has gained the nickname Upsetta as he routinely bests cars faster than himself and bigger names in local motorsports.

Since 2017, top names like Joel Jackson (2016 Rally Jamaica winner), Maurice Whittingham (multiple national dexterity champion), Christopher McFarlane (five-time Barbados Rally Club Autocross champion) and veterans such as Ricky Vaz have been staples on the leaderboards of the Asphalt Assault dexterity series. So when the series begins its first ever championship season on February 22 at the Palisadoes International Raceway in Kingston there is another name expecting to make an impact, Daren Givans.

“I think the new championship series is a great initiative. It will add more flavour to the whole dexterity scene. More fierce competition will be expected as drivers will be going all out to secure as much points as they can in each round. The thought of a dexterity champion itself is a grand idea. I’m looking forward to a great year,” Givans said.

Givans has been competing in Asphalt Assault since 2018, but not in some prepped race car. Instead, he’s been trading fast times with some of the biggest names in Jamaican motorsports in his 2001 Toyota Corolla gaining him the nickname the Upsetta.

Using his 2001 Toyota Corolla, as handed down to him from his mother, Givans discovered he’s better behind the wheel of a real car than a virtual one.

“I have been dubbed the Upsetta throughout the series, because of how I have been able to put up strong competition against my fellow drivers in a stock street car, my Corolla, doing better than persons with faster cars than mine.” With no motorsports background, Givans began on the screens before moving to the real thing, satisfying his need for speed with video games. “I used to play a lot of motorsport video games, rally and circuit racing types. I have always been interested in motorsports from an early age, but hadn’t gotten the chance to get involved until recently. I have interests in rally, sprint, circuits, time attack, etc.”

Since that first dexterity event in 2018, Givans took the car he’d owned for five years, as handed down from his mother, and began to make a name for himself, routinely using the humble Corolla to match or beat faster more powerful cars, purpose built race and rally cars, and drivers with way more experience than he.

His underdog status has gained Givans a popular following at events.

“I use it and continue to use it because it’s the only car I currently have. A well-prepped project car would be most ideal but until then, I have to just continue using the Corolla.” His choice of car exhibits the pure nature of dexterity as an entry-level Rallysport based on talent rather than how expensive a car a person can buy. It’s a sport where rookies can mix it up with professional drivers, learning along the way, and having a chance at victory. “Dexterities have helped me to become a better driver overall. Getting used to the car, knowing how it will respond in different circumstances.”

At Asphalt Assault: First Strike, scheduled for Saturday (Feb 22), Givans plans to chase the championship title. “The news of a championship goes well with my plans as it will help to challenge and push me further to gain more experience and grow more in the sport. Taking on new challenges is always a good thing to help build oneself.”