Q: “Is it okay to skip gears when downshifting? For example, instead of a 5-4-3-2 brake and downshift, if your transmission allows, could you bypass shifting into 4th and 3rd and just shift into 2nd from 5th at the same point?”
A: Yes. I do recommend doing this – skip-shifting on downshifts – as long as you’re proficient at the timing of your downshifts. The key is to wait long enough to make the final one downshift. As you can imagine, if you downshift from 5th to 2nd too early, and/or you don’t match the revs with a good heel & toe, you’ll either over-rev the engine, or upset the car’s balance.
I have another tip article about skip-shifting here: “Skip Shift: What Is It?”
I see this question often and a lot of people’s answer is that if you skip it shocks the transmission or gears & reduces the life or could damage. However, I skip all the time. I looked at the gears/rpm/speed or gear ratios for my car. I time it to where I’m skipping in the range. I.e.. I’m not slamming into 3rd from 6th at 120mph. For me, Depending on tire size, 3rd gear tops out at about 85mph. I would time it to where I’ll shift under 85mph. Like Ross always says, it depends! :). So depends on corner, engine setup, suspension setup, track..etc to determine what’s best for you. GL!
If you do, you better be sure to get it right. If you get the timing wrong – or worse, the wrong gear… A mechanical over-rev is a terrible way for an engine to die…