Arsenio “Dodjie” Laurel


Arsenio Laurel was born on 14 December 1931. He made his Macau Grand Prix debut in 1961 and won the 9th Macau Grand Prix in 1962. Laurel had dropped to last place got under way as he had pitted to have his spare petrol tanks removed during a competition of 60 laps in 1962, however, his Lotus 22 had moved up to fourth on lap 13. On lap 25, Laurel continued to lead the race. When on lap 40, he needed to make a second pit stop, he did not relinquish the lead and broke the lap record 7 times.

The Lotus 22 was built for Formula Junior racing in 1962, and a total of 77 cars were constructed. The British Colin Chapman was the brains behind Lotus, and his 22 was a refinement over the 20, with disc brakes all round, a top link and the 'rubber donut' to the rear suspension and a dry sump engine that was canted over to lower the centre of gravity, smoother bodywork covering the engine. The cars were fitted with Cosworth MkIV or MkXI engines of 1098cc and developed 100 horsepower, but for the Macau Grand Prix ran at the time, the cars had a 1500cc engine.

He returned to the Guia Circuit in 1962 and 1963 with Lotus 22. Laurel was not content to coast to victory and lowered the lap record not once but twice, with a quarter of the race remaining, he was two laps ahead and won the race. Laurel became the first driver to win the Macau Grand Prix twice. He returned to Macao in the following years and finished fifth in the 1965 Macau Grand Prix. For the 14th Macau Grand Prix in 1967, the field included three former winners – Laurel, Albert Poon and John Macdonald. On the third lap, Laurel seemed to have lost control of his Lotus at Yacht Club Bend (later renamed Mandarin Oriental Bend) and hit the sea wall. Upon impact the car overturned and burst into flames. Laurel died instantly from the impact. This was the first fatality of the Macau Grand Prix. He was 35 years of age. Eyewitness accounts later revealed that Laurel tried to avoid colliding with spectators by driving the car into the sea wall.