Born in Tanaun, Batangas in the Philippine Islands, Arsenio "Dodgie" Laurel came from a prominent political family in the Philippines. A lawyer by profession, he was the youngest of nine children. His father, José P. Laurel, was President of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation and several of his brothers were prominent politicians
He was one of the first people to organise motor racing in the Philippines and competed with his 1954 Studebaker on the oval at the Santa Ana Hippodrome in Manila. He also completed in karting and drag racing. He was also a licensed helicopter pilot and a TV presenter. Apparently he turned down an invitation to race in Europe.
A specialist at Macau, he won in 1962, on only his second visit, driving a Lotus 22 Ford FJ and setting a new lap record of 3:10.1 in the process.
With another win followed in 1963 and he became the first driver to win two consecutive Macau Grands Prix. His Lotus also became the fastest car ever on the Guia circuit when it hit a top speed of 73.38 mph mid-way through the race. The Jaguar E-types of Bill Baxter and Teddy Yip, although four laps behind, were second and third respectively.
In 1967 the Macau Grand Prix also saw its first fatality when Dodgie crashed at the Yacht Club Bent on the third lap and his car caught fire. Eyewitness accounts reported that Laurel, in trying to avoid hitting some spectators, drove his car deliberately into the sea wall. The race was not stopped, although Teddy Yip withdrew his entry in sympathy. The race was eventually won by Tony Maw of Malaysia in a Lotus 20B.